A young woman’s parents are still seeking answers about the murder-suicide that traumatized Irving’s North Lake College more than a year ago.
The parents said surveillance video they’ve seen of the shooting raises more questions for them about the college police response to the shooting.
Janeera Gonzalez was 20-years-old. On May 3, 2017, she had just finished a math final exam at the school when she was killed.
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“Our life will never be the same again,” said her mother Lucia Gonzalez.
Janeera had plans to attend a university after finishing her basic courses at North Lake College, said her father Juan Gonzalez.
“She was real small. But she had a big heart,” he said.
Surveillance video shows the young woman sitting in the college art gallery area as suspect Adrian Torres walks up, pulls a gun and shoots her three times.
Four North Lake College Police Officers arrive at the scene with guns drawn about a minute after the shooting with the suspect still on the loose.
“They were worried about everything else but the victim,” Lucia Gonzalez said. “The victim was dying there alone. At no point did anybody render her any aid.”
In the video, one officer stood right behind the victim for about two minutes but never touched her.
Law enforcement experts who have seen the video said the woman displayed what appeared to be signs of life for at least 4 minutes after she was shot. Police were right there during those crucial moments after her injury but did not render aid.
“Law enforcement should have attended to this person immediately,” said Alex Del Carmen PHD.
Del Carmen is a Professor and Executive Director of the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice and Strategic Studies at Tarleton State University.
Just after the shooting, the suspect had not been found, so police were clearly concerned that a shooter was still at large on a college campus. But Del Carmen said he believes enough campus officers were in that gallery to secure the area and help the victim.
“This is the classic case of what a college police officer should be trained to attend to,” Del Carmen said.
City of Irving Police responded fast to help with the emergency.
About 7 minutes after the woman was shot, the video shows a City of Irving officer with a rifle walking up to the wounded woman along with a campus nurse. The incident police report said the nurse found the victim was dead by then. The medical examiner later found the woman had three bullet wounds, two to the abdomen and one to the chest, according to the police report.
There is no way to know if Janeera Gonzalez could have survived three gunshot wounds, but Del Carmen said Texas Peace Officers are trained to render first aid.
“There are basic things that they are taught, to be able to respond to incidents such as these,” he said.
About an hour after the woman was shot, police found suspect Torres dead in a locker room with what the police report describes as self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
The 21-year-old Torres was a former North Lake student.
“This guy was roaming around in the hallways, all over the school. Nobody ever said anything to him, like, 'Hey you don't belong here? You still go here? But you don't belong here anymore,'” Juan Gonzalez said.
The police report said the suspect had been stalking the woman.
“Her friends also said that he was very creepy, would come out of nowhere and just kind of look at them and stare at them,” Lucia Gonzalez said.
The parents believe more could have been done to avoid their daughter’s death and not enough has been done since to avoid another tragedy at the school.
The Dallas County Community College District declined to answer questions about North Lake College Police training or anything about the case.
By e-mail DCCCD General Counsel Robert Wendland issued a statement:
“We share the grief felt by the family and friends of Janeera Gonzalez, and we are profoundly saddened that such a terrible, tragic act of violence happened at North Lake College. The safety and security of our students and employees is our primary concern, under all circumstances. The District, through this office, has been in communication with the Gonzalez family’s attorney and it is the policy of the District not to comment on matters which involve the threat of litigation.”
No lawsuit has been filed in the case and the parents currently have no lawyer. They said the college offered a $20,000 settlement through their previous lawyer but they refused to accept it. The parents said their former lawyer obtained the video. The family shared it with NBC5.
The parents said they are not satisfied with what they have been told by authorities and want the closed case re-opened.
“There's a lot of unanswered questions for us,” Lucia Gonzalez said.
City of Irving Police handled the investigation and Irving Police Chief Jeff Spivey agreed to an interview on the results.
“Our detectives worked meticulously on this case. They chased down every lead,” Spivey said.
The police report said the suspect e-mailed a suicide note to his parents around 20 minutes before the shooting but the suspect’s parents did not receive the note until after the shooting, too late to stop it. Details of the suicide note were withheld but Spivey said police were unable to determine a motive for killing the woman.
“There was no point in time where law enforcement could have interjected ourselves to prevent this,” Spivey said. “I understand the Gonzalez family is hurting. We've provided them with as much information as we could.”
Chief Spivey said he regrets that suspect Torres took many of the answers to his grave.
The parents have been struggling financially since the woman’s death and they are worried now about losing their home. A go-fund me account has been set up by a friend.