EVERETT — Juan Gonzales clung to a chain link fence for about 20 minutes before collapsing.
His brain was bleeding and his legs could no longer hold him up. He never regained consciousness.
Gonzales, 47, was living on the street, part of a population that frequents Smith Avenue near the Everett Gospel Mission. His last conscious moments were captured on a controversial security camera set up by a business owner, trying to draw attention to criminal activity on that stretch of road.
The live-stream video isn’t recorded but people have taken to saving clips and uploading them online.
“The videos are generally treated as a source of entertainment by those who post comments,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Andrew Alsdorf wrote in court papers.
Viewers had given Gonzales a derogatory nickname. Meanwhile a witness told police he was “one of the nicest guys down there.”
His mother, who lives in California, was able to make it to the hospital before her son died Sept. 27, two days after he had been kicked in the head.
Prosecutors on Friday charged another homeless man with second-degree murder. Witnesses told police that Joshua David Thompson, 31, landed a hard kick to Gonzales’ face. He reportedly was angry that Gonzales was lying on his mattress.
Thompson allegedly told officers he didn’t feel right about Gonzales touching his belongings or his land, Alsdorf wrote. He denied forcefully kicking the victim. Instead, he said he tapped Gonzales with his ankle. He also told police Gonzales had asked in the past to be kicked. On this occasion, he said the victim had “telepathically” asked to be kicked.
A witness told police she and Gonzales had left Smith Avenue for a nearby location to do drugs. Gonzales was lying on a mattress when Thompson kicked him “one time real hard in the face.” Thompson walked away and Gonzales headed back to Smith Avenue.
The assault was out of the camera’s view. It did capture Gonzales return to the sidewalk, where he wiped blood from his nose and held onto the fence until he collapsed. Several people rushed to help him. Someone called 911, reporting a possible overdose.
The medical examiner determined that Gonzales died from a brain injury. He also noted that Gonzales had various chronic heart conditions. Those and methamphetamine intoxication might have contributed to his death, according to court papers.
When arrested, Thompson had a handful of Cheetos. Officers found the mattress about 25 yards beyond a hole in a fence on the west side of Smith Avenue. There were Cheetos strewn around.
Thompson, a military veteran, has a history of mental illness and drug use. He’s been found unable to assist with his own defense in multiple criminal cases over the years. Last year, state psychologists concluded that he was competent to proceed to trial. In that case, Thompson was accused of assaulting an Everett police officer, who had served with the defendant in the U.S. Navy.
The patient “has a major mental disorder that is long-standing in duration and which receives inadequate treatment in the community,” a mental health professional wrote in 2015. “The nature of his symptoms brings him into inevitable contact with legal authorities.”
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.