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Man arrested after allegedly firing multiple rounds from AR-style rifle in shed at Bozeman residence

Crime Watch
Posted at 12:39 PM, Mar 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-11 16:48:55-04

BOZEMAN — A man was arrested in Bozeman after allegedly firing multiple rounds from an AR-style rifle in a trailer park on Friday, March 8, 2024.

John Joseph Gonzalez, 55, was scheduled to appear in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday to be arraigned on 15 counts of criminal endangerment.

Charging documents say Gonzalez called 911 dispatch around 10:40 p.m. on Friday to report “a bunch of loud noises,” then hung up, saying he would deal with it himself. When dispatch called back, Gonzalez reportedly said he believed the noises were gunfire.

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A Gallatin County deputy sheriff responded to the 911 hangup in the 30 block of Two Track Way, between 19th Avenue and 17th Avenue in Bozeman. The deputy noted a separate call for service reported gunshots in the area as he was arriving at the scene.

A total of three deputies arrived at Gonzalez’s residence. According to court documents, Gonzalez came out wearing a tactical vest that held multiple ArmaLite Rifle (AR) magazines. He was also allegedly wearing a Glock 20 pistol in a holster on his right thigh.

Deputies were able to detain Gonzalez without incident. Court documents say Gonzalez’s breath smelled strongly of alcohol and his speech was slurred, along with other signs of impairment including red, watery eyes, mood swings, and unsteady balance.

Gonzalez allegedly told the deputies he heard multiple gunshots, grabbed his rifle and equipment, and went outside to protect himself and his dog.

Two witnesses said they heard approximately 15 rounds discharged from the direction of Gonzalez’s residence.

Deputies were unable to locate any fired shell casings outside the residence and proceeded to read Gonzalez his Miranda rights, which he reportedly waived. According to court documents, one of the deputies located an AR behind Gonzalez’s front door and found a round in the chamber.

The magazine well allegedly contained two 30-round magazines taped together, with only two rounds remaining in one of them.

The reporting deputy said he found additional evidence that the rifle had recently been fired outside in the elements.

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A third witness got the attention of one of the deputies and reported that he heard approximately 15 shots fired and shortly after saw Gonzalez exiting a shed on his property with the AR in his hands. Smoke was reportedly coming from the shed.

Gonzalez allegedly denied consent for deputies to search the shed. He was then arrested and taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center.

According to charging documents, Gonzalez made an “excited utterance” that he wanted to confess while at the detention center. He allegedly said he fired his rifle into a bucket of sand to test the trigger but did so after he heard gunshots.

Deputies obtained a search warrant for Gonzalez’ shed and reportedly found 15 spent .223-caliber shell casings. The reporting deputy said the location of the spent rounds indicated Gonzalez was facing in the direction of the third witness’s trailer when he fired his rifle.

Gonzalez was held without bond pending his initial appearance in court on Monday.