Week in Review : MAJOR EVENTS, IMAGES AND PEOPLE IN ORANGE COUNTY NEWS : COURTS : Family of Man Who Shot Boss, Self Sues
Fidel Gonzalez Jr. walked into the state unemployment office in Garden Grove last March and shot his boss. He then turned the gun to his own temple and pulled the trigger. Both men died at the scene.
Now the Gonzalez family is suing the state for $7 million, charging that government officials could have prevented Gonzalez’s death.
The wrongful-death suit filed Wednesday alleges that the state Employment Development Deparment created intolerable working conditions, causing Gonzalez’s boss, Louis Zuniga Jr., to use “oppressive management tactics” that drove Gonzalez to kill his boss and himself.
The lawsuit also claims that state officials, including EDD Director Kay Kiddoo, had prior knowledge of numerous threats and attempts on Zuniga’s life by employees. The suit alleges that state officials also knew of attacks on EDD employees in other offices by people applying for benefits and that those officials failed to institute tighter security measures to protect office employees.
“We feel that if the slightest impediment had been placed in the way of Fidel Gonzalez, the tragedy could have been prevented,” said Maurice Mandel II, an attorney for the Gonzalez family.
Zuniga’s family also has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit. The Jan. 14 suit names as defendants the State of California, the City of Garden Grove, Kiddoo, Gonzalez’s immediate supervisor and others.