PITTSBURGH — A former Aliquippa police officer was found not guilty of shooting an Allegheny County Jail guard during a bar fight.
It's been 18 months since the fight in Carrick that led to the shooting.
As the verdict was read Friday, Joshua Gonzalez was visibly relieved.
"We've been confident all the way through," said Casey White, Gonzalez's attorney. "Obviously, my client was nervous. This is the first time he's been through something like this. He was nervous, but overall very confident."
Gonzalez was charged with aggravated assault stemming from the incident in November 2016, when investigators say he got into a fight outside of The Milestone with an Allegheny County Jail guard. Both were off-duty.
The fight escalated, leading to Gonzalez shooting the guard.
Much of the trial focused on whether he acted in self-defense, an argument with which the jury agreed.
"He defended himself. He used his training and experience as an Aliquippa police officer to defend himself," White said. "Thank God he did, because he's still here, and now he gets to walk out of this courthouse a free man."
Moments after the jury read the not guilty verdict, Gonzalez broke down in tears.
White hopes his client will be able to move on with his life and possibly serve in law enforcement in the future.
"It's time basically to get his badge back," White said. "Whether it's with Aliquippa Police Department or with another jurisdiction, that's our objection."
The victim and his family were not in the courtroom when the verdict was read, but several other Allegheny County Jail guards were there. The jury deliberated for about three hours.
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