On July 23, 2015, in Citrus County, Florida, Robert Doyle and Candelario Gonzalez had a very bad day. Both men made intemperate statements during a road rage incident. Gonzalez had his wife and two child relatives in the car with him and followed Doyle and Doyle’s wife to their home. Gonzalez’ wife reported to 911 that “My husband wants to go whoop his (expletive).” As cronicleonline.com reports, Gonzalez said,
“He just flipped me off, I’m going to kick him right in his (expletive). … I’m going to follow him right to his house,” Gonzalez can be heard saying on the call as his wife talks to a 911 dispatcher.
Doyle’s statements were more of a defensive nature:
“My gun’s already out, it’s cocked and locked. I’m going home, the gun’s coming out and I’m going to put it to his (expletive) head. … It’s going down right now,” Doyle told a dispatcher.
Gonzalez got out of his vehicle and approached Doyle…who shot him. Gonzalez died at the scene.
I had used this story as an example of how everything you say to a 911 operator is recorded, and that you have to be careful with your language. And that returning to your home when you know someone is following you is a bad idea.
Of the five shots that Doyle fired in rapid succession, four hit Gonzalez, and one hit a building across the street. Doyle was charged with second-degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, and shooting at a building.
A little over a year after the shooting, all charges against Doyle have been dropped after a stand-your-ground hearing by Citrus County Judge Richard Howard.
Howard found Robert Eric Doyle, 52, was acting in self-defense July 23, 2015, when he shot and killed Candelario Reyneldo Gonzalez in the middle of a Beverly Hills street before ordering Gonzales’ wife and two child relatives out of the victim’s car at gunpoint.
Howard’s ruling came after a stand-your-ground hearing to drop all counts against Doyle, who was charged with second-degree murder with a firearm, three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and shooting at a dwelling.
The law states that “a person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity … has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force … if he reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or others.”
Howard’s (sic) found that 44-year-old Gonzalez, who was unarmed, had no reason to keep following Doyle and his wife during the altercation, which occurred on the roads between Citrus Hills and Doyle’s home off South Desoto Street.
We don’t know how much a year of lawyers’ fees cost Doyle to get to this point. I’m certain that both the Doyle and Gonzalez families wish the event had never taken place. It’s an excellent example of how the stand-your-ground law works in Florida, (unlike the more famous Zimmerman/Martin case, where despite popular myth, the stand-your-ground law was never invoked).
While the charges were eventually dropped, the initial cautions remain just as valid. Everything you say to 911 will be recorded, and used against you if possible.
If someone is aggressively following you, don’t lead them to your home. A fire station is a better choice. Unlike police stations, they’re usually open all hours. The people there are used to dealing with emergencies.
On the other side, don’t follow someone who you believe failed to respect you in traffic. Those who carry have been taught to be careful and restrained in their interactions with others, so as to avoid situations such as this. It’s a lesson we can all benefit from.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.