The Adams County Attorney’s Office has concluded that the July shooting death of a 28-year-old Harvard man was an act of self-defense, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the Hastings Police Department.
Santinorey Adalberto Gonzalez died July 23 after a shooting incident in the 400 block of South Pine Avenue.
Investigation into the death started that night, and the Hastings Police Department has conducted interviews of multiple people, collected evidence, reviewed crime scene photographs, and consulted with a potential expert witness before turning the case over to the Adams County Attorney’s Office for review.
According to the news release, Gonzalez was an associate of the residents at 411 S. Pine Ave.
The residents of the house, according to court records, included Jacob Lewellyn, Tara Dowse and a juvenile. Some details of the incident were included in an affidavit in support of a search warrant for the residence.
Dowse told police that she and Lewellyn were in an altercation about 5 p.m. on July 23, during which her cellphone was broken. She then left the residence and went to a friend’s business.
Around 9:30 p.m., Dowse met Gonzalez and Hepseba Rivers in a vehicle near the residence. They asked why Dowse hadn’t been answering her phone, and she told the two about the altercation with Lewellyn.
Upset by the news, Gonzalez went into the attached garage at the residence to confront Lewellyn.
Dowse told police Gonzalez had a hammer and said he was going to “smash this fool.” She told Gonzalez that it wasn’t worth it and went to a bedroom in the house.
“Mr. Gonzalez ignored several requests to leave the residence and armed himself with a blunt object weapon and approached the resident in a threatening manner,” the news release stated. “The resident, then armed with a firearm, again gave warning to leave. Mr. Gonzalez attacked the resident with the blunt object weapon and the resident fatally shot Mr. Gonzalez.”
Officers spoke to Lewellyn after the incident. He said he initially shot Gonzalez in the leg, but he kept coming at him with the sledge hammer and Lewellyn fired a second shot. Lewellyn said Gonzalez hit him in the head with the hammer and officers noted a visible injury above his left eye.
Based on the evidence collected, officers concluded Lewellyn was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Gonzalez, and no further action will be taken by the County Attorney’s Office.