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.

17 COMMENTS

  1. 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

     
  2. 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

     
  3. 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.

     
  4. 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.

     
  5. 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.

     
  6. The officer remarked about shooting the man…..”I fired one round, he screamed and fell to the ground, and I left.”
    Hahahaha…..has to be the best statement Mungo has heard in a loooong time. So matter of fact, and to the point. It would seem that not one single fuck was given on that fateful night. This rehire should work out just swell for everyone involved…..sarc/off

     
    • Very well put Mugo LOL .. ” He panicked ” and fled you know like good officers are trained to do before deciding to call 911. From all I have read the guard he shot Miller did not even have a gun , but was yelling at him from a porch as he left the bar because earlier he and his GF were involved in several altercations in that same bar on same night and it was said that Gonzalez also ” hit ” a woman while he and his GF were out for a fun night of excessive intoxication and bar brawling SMH. Every move and decision he made was just how trained officers are trained to conduct themselves. I swear it seems as if they will hand a badge to any pissant thug these days , and everyone wonders why PD’s have such a bad rep anymore. It may just be me , but I think the whole screening process of law enforcement is either non existent these days or simple sucks on of the two. A intresting read on this ” Officer Of The Law ” … https://www.copblock.org/168748/off-duty-pittsburgh-cop-shot-jail-guard-during-drunken-thanksgiving-bar-fight/

       
  7. Just what Quip needed .. a young ” Hot Head Asshole ” that can’t control his temper in a situation. But with a badge and a gun and a little power SMH!!!!! . Can they really not see that things will NEVER improve if they keep implementing the same BS tactics and bringing trouble in on themselves. With clearly stupid moves like this one I don’t think there is any hope at all for the Dept to ever function as a normal PD .. Hell they clearly do not even learn from previous mistakes, must be pretty damn bad when you have to hire ( acquitted ) criminals to uphold the law. he got off yeah ( but if he wasn’t a cop would he have ? prob not !!) , but the fact of what he did does not go away just because he got away with it lol. Also it pretty much speaks of this officers character does it not ? ..Way to go Quip yet another outstanding officer to the mix of BS you already have going on. Good Luck with with this latest brilliant move , I predict some new and interesting stories coming out of the city in the near future now , get ready JP, it’s just a matter of time. SMH

     
  8. He was found not guilty so the charges can’t be considered or used against him. Ok, I can understand that on general principle. However, he should not have been rehired because he doesn’t possess good judgement.

    Knowing that he was going to a bar and would be drinking heavily, he still chose to carry his gun. If you want to carry a concealed weapon and you have a permit to do so, then great. But, when you choose to do that you have a responsibility to remain in control of your faculties and that’s not possible after a night of “heavy drinking.” I’m guessing that he also probably drove himself from the scene.

    Anyone who lacks the good judgement and common sense to realize when it’s appropriate to leave your gun at home isn’t someone who should be a police officer in Aliquippa or anywhere else.

     
    • A police officer should all ways carry his gun.The only problem is being drunk in public.Is he the first Aliq. Cop drunk in public ? I think not.Carrying a gun is like driving, you should not be drunk.

       
  9. Matt did what he thought was best. Everyone is so quick to judge why people make the decisions they do. Our city is struggling and everyone is throwing dirt on us instead of helping.

     
    • Maybe because whats going on in Aliquippa now needs to be buried with the rest of the garbage in a very deep land fill. And the earth around it posted with warning signs–EXTREMLY HAZARDOUS TO HUMAN LIFE.

       
  10. You need these type of men to keep these animals under control in this shit hole town. You cant expect no some soft young dude nor an old dude to be able to chase n deal with this chaos Circus you have always have had going on in this warzone. Maybe once these clowns in this town start knowing how to act n be a productective memeber of society maybe youll actually have a NORMal TOWN N Also police force untill then you have to do what you can to keep these animals under control…..SHIT HOLE

     

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