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PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT
July 7, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact Information: PolicePRUnit@slcgov.com
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SLCPD Patrol Officers Arrest Man Accused of Illegally Firing Handgun
SALT LAKE CITY — Officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department have safely arrested a 41-year-old man accused of illegally shooting approximately 20 rounds from a handgun.
Eric Gonzales is charged with 21 counts of illegal discharging a firearm, one count of criminal mischief, one count of illegally discharging a firearm in city limits, and one count of reckless endangerment.
This investigation started at 3:41 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, 2023, when officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department responded to a home near 1900 West North Star Drive on reports of a shooting. As officers arrived, they learned Gonzales ran back into his home.
Due to the rapidly unfolding situation, an on-scene SLCPD patrol supervisor established an emergency action team (EAT) to deploy, if necessary. Initially, Gonzales refused to come out of the home. Officers quickly set up around the home to make sure Gonzales could not escape.
During the investigation, Gonzales tried escaping by running out of the home. Because officers had quickly set up around the home, officers safely captured Gonzales.
Including the patrol response, SLCPD deployed officers capable of flying a law enforcement drone. Additionally, members of the SLCPD’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT) responded.
Officers obtained a court-authorized search warrant and found two handguns inside the home.
Technicians with the SLCPD’s Crime Lab responded to process the scene.
During the investigation, officers found 20 spent shell casings.
Officers believe Gonzales randomly shot into the ground and air. At least one round hit a neighbor’s garage door.
“The allegations in this case are very alarming,” said Chief Mike Brown. “The potential for tragedy in this scenario could have been exponential. Based on what we know, this situation posed an imminent threat to the safety and lives of innocent bystanders in the neighborhood, and we are so fortunate that no one was harmed. I want to commend the officers for their quick and professional response.”
Charges are only allegations, and every arrested person is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Salt Lake City Police Department is not the custodian of record for jail booking photos. Utah Code 17-22-30 mostly prohibits the release of jail booking photos. Generally, a jail booking photo can only be released by the custodian of record after a conviction or when law enforcement determines the person is a fugitive or an imminent threat to a person or public safety. In Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office is the custodian of record for jail booking photos.
1 – A spent shell casing and an SLCPD evidence mark document a shooting from July 6, 2023 (Photo credit: Salt Lake City Police Department).