The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the officer-involved shooting on December 3, 2018. This incident happened in the city of Rialto and involved the Rialto Police Department. The shooting was investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.


On December 3, 2018, at about 1:37 am, the Rialto Police Department responded to a residence in the 1700 block of N. Sycamore Avenue in the city of Rialto. David Gonzales (Age 55 of Rialto) was in a truck, doing “burn-outs,” honking his horn and revving the truck’s engine while in the yard of the residence.

The first police officer to arrive stopped behind the truck, which was in the driveway of the residence. Gonzales quickly drove the truck in reverse, causing the officer to reverse his patrol car to avoid a collision. Gonzales’ truck crashed into the front of the patrol car.

Gonzales accelerated forward and away from the police officer, and into the front yard of the residence. The officer turned on his lights and followed Gonzales. Gonzales was able to exit the yard and re-enter it in a manner in which he ended up behind the patrol car.

Gonzales crashed into the rear of the patrol car. Gonzales pushed the patrol car into an air conditioning unit at the back of the residential building on the property. When this happened, a natural gas line was broken.

The officer was able to exit the driver’s side of the patrol car, and in doing so, found himself between the patrol car and the residence. Gonzales was still in his truck, which was facing the officer.

Gonzales slowly backed up, hitting a motorhome. He then began revving the truck’s engine. Fearing for his life, the officer fired his handgun several times into the windshield of the truck. If the truck were to crash into the patrol car again, the officer would be crushed between the residence and the car.

A second police officer had arrived on the scene while Gonzales was crashing into the police car. This officer quickly exited his patrol car. When he believed Gonzales would ram his truck into the patrol car, he also fired his weapon towards Gonzales.

Gonzales exited the truck and tried to hide behind it. The officer released his K9, which located Gonzales, and controlled him with a bite to the forearm. Even then, Gonzales would not comply with the police officer’s commands.

After additional officers arrived, Gonzales was safely handcuffed and escorted to the street to be treated by paramedics who had been summoned to the scene.

Several residences were evacuated due to the gas leak. 

Gonzales sustained a gunshot wound to one of his arms, a bullet graze wound to his face, and numerous dog bite lacerations to his arm. He also had lacerations to this back.

On March 4, 2019, Gonzales entered guilty pleas to two felony counts of violating California Penal Code Section 245(c) – Assault With A Deadly Weapon Against A Police Officer. That section specifies:

“Any person who commits an assault with a deadly weapon or instrument, other than a firearm, or by any means likely to produce great bodily injury upon the person of a peace officer or firefighter, and who knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer or firefighter engaged in the performance of his or her duties, when the peace officer or firefighter is engaged in the performance of his or her duties, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for three, four, or five years.”


This shooting was investigated by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. A review of the investigation, reports, evidence, and statements was completed by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

Based on the facts presented in the reports and the applicable law, our office concluded the officers’ use of both lethal force and non-lethal force was a proper exercise of their rights of self-defense and defense of others, and therefore their actions were legally justified.


By providing a thorough explanation to the community regarding the review of officer-involved shootings, it is the intention of District Attorney Jason Anderson and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office to maintain the community’s confidence and trust in its law enforcement officers and district attorney’s office.

Key Points of This Incident

  • Gonzales was in a truck revving the engine, driving erratically and honking the horn during the early morning hours
  • The police responded to investigate Gonzales’ actions
  • Gonzales crashed his truck into a police car, then fled from the police officer
  • Gonzales maneuvered his truck behind the police car and crashed into it again
  • Gonzales pushed the police car towards a residence, where it crashed into an air conditioning unit and broke a gas line
  • Gonzales jeopardized the lives of residents, neighbors, and police officers when the gas line was broken
  • Gonzales backed up his truck and revved the engine, causing the police officers to fear for their lives, and use their firearms to stop Gonzales.
  • Gonzales was uncooperative when the officers attempted to detain him, leading to the officers using a K9 to control Gonzales
  • Gonzales was eventually taken into custody

Police officers are trained to respond to situations such as these, and they continually update their training as new situations and techniques are identified. 

Additionally, police officers have equipment on their belts, vests, and vehicles, which they use to complete their duties.

Police officers are expected and authorized to use the equipment to protect themselves and others from suffering injuries or death. To some, watching a police officer using physical force against another person can be upsetting or disturbing. 

Police officers prefer to use the least amount of force, whether it be their mere presence or verbal commands, to diffuse situations. However, there are situations, such as this incident, in which physical force is necessary for the community and police officers’ safety.

In rapidly tense situations, officers do not have a great deal of time planning, revising, or analyzing a situation, such as readers of this article. When a situation evolves, officers must make the best decisions possible to protect and save lives in a condensed amount of time.

The community expects that the people they call upon to protect them, which is the police in this situation, will not back down, be intimidated, or run scared when danger presents itself. 

On December 3, 2018, David Gonzales was responsible for the choices he made that day. Gonzales chose to operate the truck he was in with such a manner as to create a disturbance and a potentially dangerous situation.

Gonzales decided to crash into the police car when the officer first arrived on the scene. He also decided to flee by driving his truck away from the officer.

Gonzales decided to return to the yard, only this time driving his truck behind the police officer. He then decided to crash into the police officer’s patrol car, again.

Gonzales further decided to push the police officer’s vehicle towards the residence, with the officer inside the patrol car. In doing so, Gonzales caused a gas leak and placed other people in the general area at risk.

Gonzales pressed his foot on the gas pedal, causing the truck’s engine to rev loudly. He placed the police officers in a situation where they had to stop Gonzales because Gonzales refused to cease his actions.

After Gonzales had been shot, he decided to exit the vehicle and attempt to allude the officers by hiding behind his truck. A K9 was used to control Gonzales until he could be safely taken into custody.

The Officer-Involved Shooting Review Team

The district attorney’s office has always reviewed Officer-involved shootings in San Bernardino County. 

Upon taking office, District Attorney Jason Anderson wanted a dedicated team of trained and experienced deputy district attorneys and investigators to not only review these shootings but also to respond to the scene of shootings. 

The review unit did not respond to this shooting scene as the new team’s design and development, and its protocols were still being developed. 

Please visit to learn more about this team.

As the district attorney’s office, we realize the entire community is affected when a person loses their life, regardless of the situation or circumstances. Our responsibility is to ensure that all parties involved in cases such as the one involving David Gonzales acted lawfully.


KABC 7 – Man Wounded In Officer-Involved Shooting In Rialto; Suspect’s Car Riddled With Bullet Holes

KTLA 5 – Man Hurt in Rialto Officer-Involved Shooting After Allegedly Ramming Truck Into Police Cruisers

San Bernardino Sun – Officers Shoot Driver Who Rammed Truck Into Rialto Police Car, Causing Natural Gas Leak


View San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Public Release Memorandum: David Gonzales