Suspect in Orange County mass shooting committed to state hospital
The man accused of carrying out a mass shooting in Orange County earlier this year, killing four people, including a child, was committed to a state mental facility Wednesday after a judge ruled he was not competent to stand trial.
Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 45, was committed to a state hospital, where he will undergo treatment after a mental evaluation showed he would not be able to assist in his defense of the case stemming from the March 31 attack. He was shot in the head by responding officers.
Gonzalez was charged with four counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shooting at an office complex in the city of Orange. Before the shooting, police say Gonzalez used bicycle-type locks on the front and back entrances to trap people inside, targeting employees at Unified Homes, a manufactured-home dealer and real estate company.
Authorities say Gonzalez fatally shot the company’s owner, Luis Tovar, 50; longtime employee Leticia Solis Guzman, 58; Tovar’s daughter Genevieve Raygoza, 28; and her 9-year-old brother, Matthew Farias.
Raygoza and Matthew’s mother, Blanca Tamayo, was shot twice in the head and once in the arm. She was found by police clutching her son, her family said. She spent more than a month in the hospital recovering from her injuries.
Matthew’s father, Rafael Farias, said Thursday that there’s evidence in the case that shows Gonzalez planned the shooting.
“It doesn’t feel right. It’s a terrible injustice,” he said when reached by phone. “What does that say? That people can go around killing other people and then pretend that they don’t understand, so people will say, ‘Oh, he’s crazy. We can’t send him to prison.’”
Mass shooting stuns quiet Orange neighborhood: ‘I couldn’t believe it’
Gonzalez fired on police who responded to the scene, and while none of them were injured, he was struck in the head by an officer’s bullet. The repercussions have stymied the judicial process in the case, with Gonzalez’s arraignment delayed multiple times because of his injuries.
“While that shot undoubtedly saved lives, it is having serious ramifications on the legal process and the pursuit of justice,” Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer said in a statement. “Thankfully, he is being committed to a lockdown state hospital while he is undergoing treatment.”
Farias said he hopes Gonzalez can recover while in the state hospital because he wants to see justice served for his son.
“But from here, it looks like it’s just going to keep going on and on,” he said.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham ordered a psychological evaluation after Gonzalez’s attorney expressed concerns he was not mentally competent to aid in his defense. Both court-appointed medical experts and state hospital doctors reached the same conclusion: Gonzalez is not competent to understand the charges against him.
Early last month, Pham halted the proceedings in the trial based on the medical report’s findings.
Gonzalez was committed to the California Department of State Hospitals, where he will undergo treatment. The location and details of the hospital are under seal at the request of Gonzalez’s attorney. A report from the state hospital will be filed with the court within 90 days, and additional reports will follow every six months, according to court filings. The district attorney’s office will send its own experts for regular evaluations as well to determine whether Gonzalez is competent to stand trial, Spitzer said.
“The families left behind in the wake of this heinous crime deserve justice, and we will continue to do everything in our power to pursue justice for Luis, Leticia, Genevieve, Matthew and Blanca,” Spitzer said.
Farias recalled his son jumping on the trampoline and playing soccer.
“Matthew loved life,” his father said. “He was just always smiling. He would hug me for no reason and I would say, ‘What was that for? Is it because I buy you things?’ And he would say, ‘No, I love my daddy.’
“I miss my son so much,” Farias said. “He was my everything. He was my motivation for life, and now he’s gone.”
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