William was shot while responding to a call for assistance from another officer near Colorado and Adams streets in Glendale.
According to Balian, while patrolling in the area an officer noticed Gonzales acting suspiciously. The officer pulled his patrol unit over and got out of his vehicle. As eye contact was made, Gonzales fled on foot, firing his gun over his shoulder at the officer. The officer made a call for assistance.
“This officer took cover, he continued to run after [Gonzales] but tried to maintain a safe distance and take cover where he could,” Balian said. “The suspect ran to Elk Avenue then east to Chevy Chase Avenue.”
The officer that gave chase directed other officers as to where Gonzales was heading and where to set up the containment area. All the while the suspect continued to shoot at officers over his shoulder.
“At Elk and Chevy Chase the suspect was hiding in the bushes,” Balian said.
When William and another officer got out of their vehicle, they were ambushed by Gonzales who began firing at them.
“That was one of the bullets that hit Robert,” Balian said.
He added that William was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time which saved his life.
The suspect then continued northbound. Another officer pulled into a driveway at 315 South Chevy Chase Ave., got out of his vehicle and Gonzales fired at him, shattering the windshield. Fragments of glass flew into the officer’s eyes and his hands were cut. Gonzales continued to 319 Chevy Chase Ave. where he knelt down to allegedly reload his weapon. That is where officers returned fire, striking Gonzales. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Balian added that it was lucky that no one else was hurt during the pursuit because of the dangerous and erratic behavior of the suspect. The area has many businesses including a Burger King nearby.
“Apparently two or three hours prior to this [incident] Gonzales had committed a murder of one of his fellow gang members,” Balian said.
He added that Gonzales was dropped off in the Glendale area to get a new tattoo.
“Like bragging rights of what he had just done,” Balian surmised.
Gonzales was on parole for second-degree murder committed ten years ago. He had been out of state prison for two weeks.
It has been over 10 years since the last time a Glendale officer was shot in the line of duty.
Investigator Charles “Chuck” Lazzaretto was killed when he and his partner, Art Frank, were looking for a suspect in a Chatsworth warehouse. Another 28-year-old man named Gonzalez, no relation to Daniel Gonzales, shot Lazzaretto. Israel Chapa Gonzalez laid in ambush and shot the officer several times before turning the gun on himself.
“Again, I would like to emphasize that this should be a lesson to all law enforcement in the nation to wear their vest,” Balian said. “I know it may be cumbersome at times, but there is no doubt that the vest saved this officer’s life.”