Hello again. It’s been a while since I’ve been around, but a friend of mine needs help. His name is Alejandro Gonzalez, and he’s a goddam straight-up war hero.
And he’s facing 1st degree murder charges in Baltimore, MD.
He shouldn’t be.
But man, do I feel like a fish out of water telling this story. It’s one of those where politics and attitudes don’t fit into their typical neat little boxes.
So let’s begin with...
Part 1: What Happened
Let us begin with the events that occurred on September 5, 2021:
The day began normally enough, all things considered. Alejandro, along with his two sons and Sierra, his fiancée, piled into their Nissan and began the long drive from Atlanta to Baltimore. The COVID pandemic seemed to be in a lull, and it had been longer than a year since the kids had last seen their grandmother (Connie Gonzalez). They were going to visit Connie, eat a bite, and then drive with Connie (in two cars) up to New York City to see Alejandro’s 94-year old grandmother.
When they finally arrived at Connie’s apartment complex in Baltimore, Sierra and Alejandro noticed something strange: there were several cats hanging around Connie’s patio. At some point in the visit, the cats came up in conversation and Connie explained that the upstairs neighbors usually stacked their trash bags on their balcony, rather than taking them down to the dumpster. She shared that leakage from the trash would seep through the cracks of the balcony deck and fell onto her patio, where it attracted mice. She fed the stray cats to keep the mice away.
Connie also said that the upstairs neighbors disrespected her when she tried to talk to them about their trash (and the effect that second-hand marijuana smoke might have on their young children – Connie is a nurse). She said the man that lived in the upstairs apartment was particularly rude to her, but at 66 years old, what could she do? Maybe Alejandro could speak with him?
It was a nice day, so everyone was chatting outside watching the kids play when the upstairs neighbor came out onto his deck. Alejandro called up to him. It did not go well. All it took was mention of the trash, and the neighbor was set off. He threatened Connie. He told Alejandro he should wait downstairs because he had something for him too. He went inside and made a phone call, then came outside and told Alejandro to wait right there, that this would be taken care of… He threatened Sierra and the rest of the family.
Alejandro saw enough. He wasn’t there for that. He put his kids in his car, and rushed his mom to get her dog in the crate so they could leave for New York. As he was grabbing bags to help his mom pack up, he pocketed the registered 9MM handgun Connie kept on top of the bookshelf next to the door. Alejandro had always been a protector, and if he had to, he was going to protect his family.
As it turned out, he had to. The neighbor shouted down, “I told you not to leave – I told you to wait right there!” Then, for a moment, he disappeared back into his apartment. The moment didn’t last long; seconds later he burst out of the first-floor common area with a large wooden chair. He raised it over his head, and crashed it down on the sidewalk. He picked up one of the heavy legs, and advanced on Alejandro, with the makeshift club raised over his head.
Alejandro fired three times, killing his attacker.
Alejandro is no dummy. He grew up on the mean streets. He knew what time it was when his attacker made a phone call and then told him to wait. He knew he was dealing with a gang member calling for back up, and once the shots were fired, Alejandro knew he had to get away before that back-up arrived. Keep in mind that Alejandro, as we’ll see, suffers from PTSD and traumatic brain injury. So to a certain extent, he bugged out. He got in his car and drove his family back to the safety of their home. Then he checked himself into a Veteran’s Hospital and called the Maryland police to turn himself in. He waived extradition, and has been sitting in a Baltimore jail while Sierra tries to find him a legal team.
Here is the Maryland Statement of Charges (identifying information redacted):
Part 2: About Alejandro Gonzalez
If you had to describe Alejandro Gonzalez in one word, that word would be "protector". From his time as a 20 year-old Private in Iraq all the way through current day, to his transition out of service when he built a business teaching at-risk youth to box, and even to the present-day, which has him counseling other inmates at the jail he's in, Alejandro has made protection of others his life's work.
But don't take my word for it. Instead, read his service records:
And then understand that Alejandro Gonzalez did all of this after being blown up in the most deadly suicide bombing of the Iraq War:
Alejandro spent 12 years serving his country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Aside from the chow-hall bombing, he was blown up by IEDs on seven other occasions. The result was just too much. He was forced into a medical retirement, suffering from PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury).
That was hard for Alejandro. As we mentioned in the introduction, Alejandro has the faces of three men who were killed in Iraq while serving under him tattooed onto his arm. It was his way of "never leaving them behind". He hated leaving the service.
The transition was difficult for him, but over the last few years, he found steady ground again. With Sierra, he found peace. He found purpose in his small business where he taught at-risk kids how to box. (Alejandro is very, very good with his hands!) He had just purchased a house near Atlanta and his life was as good as its ever been.
We want to make sure Staff Sergeant Alejandro Gonzalez can return to a life of normalcy. He did nothing more than defend himself and his family. He needs your help to hire lawyers, provide for his family while he cannot, and relocate his family to avoid gang retaliation upon his release.
If you want to help Alejandro, I’ve set up this GoFundMe
for him and his family. (Full disclosure: I’ve been representing Alejandro for a little over a month now. I will not be his defense lawyer for his case in chief. Of the funds raised, the vast majority of legal fees will pay for his new legal team. However, I have not been paid for any of the work I have done in the case so far, and do expect some of the money raised by this GoFundMe to be paid to me. With that said, if I were to never see a dime, I would still be doing this for Alejandro.)