Armed DHS standoff ends with officer involved shooting, one in custody

DESERT HOT SPRINGS — Reports of shots fired inside a Desert Hot Springs home led to an hours-long, armed standoff and deputy involved shooting early yesterday morning, Tuesday, March 12. No citizens, officers, or deputies were injured during the incident, which happened at a private residence in the 67600 block of San Gorgonio St., between Bubbling Wells and Yerxa roads.

“The circumstances surrounding that call were reports of an adult male actively shooting inside the residence,” Sheriff’s Sgt. and Public Information Officer Chris Willison later told KESQ News from the scene after the alleged shooter’s arrest.


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Desert Hot Springs police officers rushed to the home around 1:45 a.m., after receiving reports of an assault with a deadly weapon involving a firearm at the home, Deputy Mike Vasquez later explained. 911 callers reported a man “was shooting a weapon within a residence while family members, including children, were present,” said Vasquez. 

First arriving officers confirmed someone inside the residence was actively firing a weapon inside the home and requested assistance from Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and other emergency personnel.

Deputies and officers spent several hours trying to coax an armed man who was shooting inside a residence out of the home. KESQ News image

In video filmed at the scene by an area resident during the incident and later aired by KESQ News, numerous gunshots can be heard coming from the residence where the incident happened.

“Sheriff’s Deputies and Desert Hot Springs Police Officers established a perimeter around the residence and confirmed occupants were still inside the home with the male suspect,” Vasquez continued. 

At some point during the armed standoff, “deputies contacted the male, who was armed with a handgun, and a deputy involved shooting occurred,” said Vasquez. 

As the hours-long standoff continued, “members of the Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Bureau conducted a rescue of a family member within the residence and took the suspect into custody,” according to Vasquez. Jail records indicate Gonzalez was arrested around 5:30 a.m., nearly four hours after the standoff began.

After the suspect was apprehended and the family was rescued, officials identified the alleged shooter as Juan Manuel Gonzalez Jr., a 47-year-old, Desert Hot Springs resident.

Juan Gonzalez Jr. was arrested after an hours-long, armed standoff in Desert Hot Springs. RSO booking photo

Jail records indicate Gonzalez was later booked into Indio Jail on suspicion of eleven felonies; including, two counts of using a firearm during the commission of a felony, corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, being a felon in possession of a firearm, violation of parole, and four prior prison enhancements.

Based on the circumstances, Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit investigators responded to the scene and assumed the investigation. They were assisted by specialists from the department’s Forensic Services Bureau, who were later seen documenting, photographing, and collecting, evidence from in and around the residence where the shooting happened.

No deputies, officers, or citizens, were injured during the incident, according to Vasquez.

The sole deputy involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave per Department policy and that deputy’s name will not be released at this time. 

Members of the Sheriff’s Forensic Services Bureau work at the scene of yesterday morning’s shooting. KESQ News image

Area resident Henry Lear, who awoke to the sounds of multiple gunshots in his neighborhood later told KESQ News he was shocked when he woke to the sound of gun fire, but was “not worried about public safety response.”

“I have full confidence in the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department,” Lear continued, emphasizing that deputies “always handle their business.”

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Sheriff’s Central Homicide Investigator Moody at (951) 955-2777 or Palm Desert Sheriff Station Investigator Recksiek at (760) 836-1600. Callers can refer to incident file number R190710001 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.

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KESQ News images

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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