Alleged Accidental Shooting Death

DAYTON, January 20, 2016 – A reported accidental shooting on CR 4893 in south Liberty County resulted in the death of Justin Taylor Gonzales, DOB 4-21-95  who lived nearby on CR 4895. Initial reports were that Van Everett Wuhas, DOB 11-3-94 of the CR 4893 address was “dry firing” a 9mm semi-automatic pistol when it fired striking Gonzales in the right upper chest area.

The 911 call came into the Sheriff’s dispatcher at approximately 5:30pm on Tuesday evening, January 19th, and was first reported to be an accidental shooting of a nine (9) year old boy. Evidently confusion from the scene and over the frantic “911” call resulted in this misinformation which was, within minutes, corrected.

Lead Investigator Sgt. Billy Knox responded to the scene and worked the case throughout the late evening hours. After conducting the follow-up investigation and interviewing Van Wuhas, it was determined that Justin Gonzales and Wuhas are very close friends to the point they call themselves “cousins”. According to Wuhas, his friend Gonzales was visiting at his home, alone, and just prior to the shooting, Wuhas was “dry firing” his 9mm automatic pistol. Gonzales had just stepped into the same room as Wuhas when the pistol discharged and the bullet struck Gonzales. Wuhas immediately called “911” and reported the shooting. Upon arrival of the First Responder medical staff, Gonzales was conscious but obviously in critical condition. Life Flight was called and Gonzales was air lifted but expired while in flight to the Houston hospital.

According to Sgt. Knox, he will consult with the District Attorney’s office later this morning for possible charges. As of this time no charges have been filed and Van Wuhas was not arrested but, again, charges may be pending.

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