The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Investigation ongoing in FBI agent shooting
AUDIO:Hear a clip of the 911 call(Courtesy of Las Cruces Sun-News)
Stafford County authorities are still actively investigating circumstances surrounding an FBI agent who fatally shot his estranged wife several times last month.
No charges have been filed against 43-year-old Arthur B. Gonzales, who told dispatchers he shot his wife in his North Stafford home after she cut his arm with a knife.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation, and we are in close contact with the commonwealth’s attorney’s office,” said Stafford County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Kennedy.
He said a number of detectives are working on the case, which started April 19 after a confusing 911 call that erroneously went to New Mexico authorities. That’s where the family lived before moving to Stafford.
During the recorded 911 call, Arthur Gonzales, who identified himself as an FBI agent, told the dispatcher to send an ambulance and deputies to his home on Alderwood Drive.
“She just attacked me with a knife and I had to shoot her,” he told the dispatcher, who had problems finding the address he gave her.
An alert went out to the address where it appeared that the call had originated in the 1800 block of Maverick Trail in Las Cruces, N.M.
But after seven deputies, firefighters and medical personnel arrived at that residence, they learned that the actual emergency was nearly 2,000 miles away, said Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kelly Jameson.
“I’m in Virginia. I’m in Virginia,” Gonzales told the dispatcher.
Dispatchers with the Mesilla Valley Regional Dispatch Authority quickly researched the call and found that the caller used to live at that home, but had moved to Stafford County and took his Voice-over Internet Protocol routers with him.
VoIP routers allow users to connect landline telephones through an Internet service provider.
Jameson said the caller apparently plugged in the router at the Stafford residence, but had not notified the service provider of the move to Virginia, which caused his emergency phone call to be sent to New Mexico.
While still on his home phone with the New Mexico dispatcher, Gonzales used his cell phone to call 911 again.
“My wife just attacked me with a knife and I had to shoot her,” he was recorded telling the Virginia 911 dispatcher. “She cut me on the arm.”
The New Mexico dispatcher was still on the line unaware that he was talking on his cell phone. There was some conversation about a gun, based on the recording.
“It’s on my holster. I’m an FBI agent. Please, please hurry,” he said. “I’ll put it right on the counter.”
Gonzales was also heard vomiting several times during the call while being given instructions on how to do CPR from the Virginia dispatcher.
Stafford deputies responded to Gonzales’ home in the Preserve on Aquia Creek near Ruby around 2:42 p.m. on April 19 for the reported shooting, Kennedy said in a news release.
When deputies arrived, they found a woman suffering from gunshot wounds, he said. The woman was transported to an area hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Stafford authorities have not officially identified Julie Serna Gonzales, 42, as the victim, but a memorial service was held for her in Triangle last Friday and a funeral is set for this Saturday in her hometown of Socorro, N.M., according to a Facebook page created in her memory.
The couple, who have two young sons, had been married for nearly 18 years, but Arthur Gonzales filed for divorce in Stafford County in June 2012.
In his complaint, Arthur Gonzales described several instances where he says Julie Gonzales abused alcohol to the point that it was affecting their marriage and their children, ages 10 and 12.
He said his wife “made no effort to sustain the marriage, but instead, continued to engage in the alcoholic behavior.”
In his wife’s response to the complaint, she requested that Gonzales be “restrained and enjoined from harassing, abusing, molesting or annoying the wife, or procuring the same through others, either by telephone or in person” and that he be “prohibited from spending, transferring, selling, wasting or giving away the marital or part-marital assets and/or property of the parties.”
Judge J. Martin Bass ruled in August that the parents share joint custody of the children. According to court documents, the boys were to reside in the home with the father and have limited visitation with their mother. The ruling states that the children would be allowed to stay with her overnight once she completed a professional alcohol-risk assessment.
Arthur Gonzales, who works as a supervisory special agent—instructor at the bureau’s National Academy at Quantico, was ordered to pay his wife $2,000 a month in spousal support.
Longtime friend Donna Ulibarri–Peralta said Julie Gonzales was a full-time stay-at-home mother until their separation. She then got a job at a local bank and had recently received an award or promotion, Peralta said.
Peralta, who lives in Julie Gonzales’ hometown in New Mexico, has spent a lot of time with Julie’s family since her death and said they are devastated. The family was told that she was shot four times.
“As an FBI agent, you would think he had the knowledge to injure her without killing her,” she said.
A public affairs agent at the FBI at Quantico issued a statement in response to a Free Lance-Star inquiry about the shooting.
“We are aware of the shooting incident, involving an FBI employee, that occurred on April 19th in Stafford County, Virginia,” the statement said.
The statement then referred all inquiries to the Stafford Sheriff’s Office.
A home phone number listed for Gonzales has been disconnected.
Ulibarri–Peralta created a Facebook memorial page titled JulieStrong in memory of Julie Serna Gonzales to serve as her voice during the investigation.
“I just want to let everyone know Julie was a wonderful person. She had a smile that would have made anybody comfortable,” she said. “I just want justice to be done. I don’t want the FBI to not give him justice because of who he is.”
The “Julie Serna Memorial” was established as a trust fund for her two sons and can receive donations at any Wells Fargo bank. Julie’s parents have pledged to match whatever donations are given.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419