By Coco Wang
WOODLAND – A man allegedly stole two Hydro Flask water bottles and some apples, and allegedly threatening to run over several loss prevention agents.
David Gonzales was charged with felony second-degree robbery after he allegedly stole merchandise from the Nugget Market in West Sacramento and made threats to the staff.
People’s first witness, B.R, is a loss prevention agent working at the Nugget Market in West Sacramento. At around 6:15 pm on Dec. 18, 2019, B.R claimed that he was working at the store and saw through live surveillance cameras that the defendant was accompanied by an adult woman and two juveniles in the store.
B.R testified that, through the surveillance camera, he saw the defendant removing certain items from the cart of the woman accompanying him and putting them into his shopping basket, and they separated at the register, where the three other individuals paid and exited the store.
Afterward, the defendant allegedly browsed the product section and placed several apples into his cart. Soon, B.R claimed that the defendant walked past the registers, entered into a patio outside the store, where merchandise was also displayed and walked toward the parking lot.
At this point, B.R stated that he jogged toward the defendant in plain clothing, told the defendant that he worked as a loss prevention agent at the store, and showed the defendant his badge. Two more agents soon joined him.
Immediately after B.R and other agents confronted the defendant, the defendant put down the shopping basket and claimed that he was only going to give his car key to his wife. One other loss prevention agent started to have a conversation with the defendant in an attempt to deescalate the situation, to which the defendant complied. Then, B.R took out a pair of handcuffs and asked the defendant to put his hands on his back, to which the defendant resisted.
In an attempt to restrain the defendant, B.R claimed that he used a “balance displacement technique” and tried to grab the defendant by his shoulder or head. Ultimately, the defendant fell to the ground and called his wife.
B.R claimed that he saw a woman walking toward them, who was later recognized as the defendant’s wife, and she started to strike B.R with both her hands. The defendant, as he was lying on the ground, allegedly said to his wife, “Baby, go get my gun” several times, to which the woman did not respond. In addition, the defendant also allegedly asked his wife to hit the loss prevention agents in their car. B.R claimed that the woman went to fetch their car, drove slowly toward him, and stopped when she was two to three feet away from B.R.
The People’s second witness, Officer Hector Torres, arrived at the scene after receiving a call made by one or more citizens claiming several men were fighting with one man on the ground. When Officer Torres arrived, he saw several men in the parking lot of the Nugget Market with a vehicle, which was later identified as the defendant’s vehicle, parked 50 feet away from the men who were fighting.
Inside the vehicle, Officer Torres later found a black replica gun made of plastic but clarified that he only realized it was a replica gun after picking it up. Officer Torres also testified that one of the loss prevention agents told him that the car was driving very slowly, at approximately five miles per hour, and it did not appear that it would or plan to hit anyone.
The public defender argued that, although the loss prevention agents had a right to investigate, they could only use a reasonable amount of force and could only detain a person for a reasonable amount of time. The public defender argued that, at some point in their investigation, it became unreasonable and therefore the defendant could rightly exercise self-defense.
In addition, the public defender claimed that the defendant was cooperative from the beginning and the first thing he did was to set down the shopping basket. The situation only escalated after B.R took out a pair of handcuffs immediately after another loss prevention agent attempted to deescalate the situation through conversation, to which the defendant had complied.
The prosecutor argued that it was clear the defendant intended to steal the items. Moreover, the prosecutor brought up the criminal history of the defendant which occurred in 2002.
Judge Paul Richardson called both attorneys to the sidebar before declaring his ruling.
At this point, the court decided the defendant was to be held to answer and the scheduled arraignment date is March 17, 2020.
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