Inside of the Aliquippa City Building / photo by John Paul

Aliquippa has rehired a police officer who was terminated from the department in 2016 after being arrested for the off-duty shooting of an Allegheny County Jail guard during an altercation in Carrick.

Joshua Gonzalez, 26, was found not guilty following a jury trial in March on charges of aggravated assault for the shooting of Kevin Miller. The case was prosecuted by the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

Aliquippa Councilman Matthew Mottes told BeaverCountian.com he had concerns about bringing Gonzalez back into the department, but ultimately felt he was left with little choice other than voting to approve the rehire.

Gonzalez argued at trial he shot Miller in self-defense around 2:55 a.m. that Thanksgiving morning.

He told police Miller was yelling profanities at him and then pulled up his shirt and reached as if he had a gun in his waistband.

“That made me draw my weapon. I felt like I was going to get shot and my life was in danger … I fired one round, he screamed and fell to the ground and I left.”

Police said Gonzalez told them he had been drinking heavily that night, panicked and left the scene after firing his gun, but called 911 and identified himself then returned to the location.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, testimony was presented during Gonzalez’s trial that Miller had two knives on him when he arrived at the hospital for treatment.

The man recovered from his injuries.

Gonzalez had been an officer with the Aliquippa police department for about four months before his 2016 arrest.

Mottes said Aliquippa has civil services procedures and Gonzales was one of only two candidates who passed all of the tests during its most recent application process. The other candidate took employment elsewhere, leaving Gonzalez the only remaining candidate to choose from last month.

“I told everyone I was not comfortable with this before we hired him,” said Mottes. “The way it was explained to me by members of the (police) union was this man was found not guilty at trial and we could not hold this against him in the background check.”

Aliquippa’s acting police chief Robert Sealock has told BeaverCountian.com he is struggling to fill empty positions in the department.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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Disgusted
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Disgusted

Oh boy!! Guns a blazin!! Sounds like he’ll fit right in!! Who’s the next victim gonna be?? Anyone else scheduled to testify against the force?? Then he can be off on paid leave too. Freaking ridiculous

BCShitHole
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BCShitHole

The only kind of police officers that Aliquippa will ever be able to get will have some sort of background that is not becoming a officer

Veritas
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Veritas

NONONONONONONONONONONONONO
That’s my vote if I had one.
Drunk+short temper+poor judgment+gun= TROUBLE
Too late. He’s already hired. He will fit in with city government and police. More of the same. Unfortunately.

Jackson4570
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Jackson4570

The best course of action now for people in Aliquippa is to avoid contact with the police. In other words ,don’t do anything wrong ,associate with the known criminals or those who are a part of the dysfunctional culture of Aliquippa. That’s not really all that hard to do, a few people have done that all their lives and survived there.

ricimer
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ricimer

You had no choice but to vote to rehire him. You had a choice you made it. Your words and your posturing are hollow Mr. Mottes.