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Officers, hostage wounded in Alliance stand-off

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Andres Gonzalez

Andres Gonzalez

ALLIANCE – The Nebraska State Patrol released on Wednesday the name of the armed man who wounded three law enforcement officers and a hostage, who was pronounced dead after a more than 14-hour stand-off at an Alliance pharmacy.

The suspect, identified as Andres Gonzalez, 27, of Alliance, was pronounced dead at approximately 11:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 12.

The incident began just before 9 a.m., Tuesday, when an armed male later identified as Gonzalez, walked into the Thiele Pharmacy, in the 300 block of Box Butte Avenue, downtown Alliance.

Officers with the Alliance Police Department responded to a 911 call reporting an armed man entering the building.

During the initial response, Gonzalez exchanged gunfire with an Alliance Police Officer.

Officer Kirk Felker, 43, a 15-year veteran of the Alliance Police Department, was transported to the Box Butte General Hospital where he underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to his arm.

Officer Felker remains hospitalized in stable condition. No one else was injured in the initial confrontation.

The owner of the pharmacy, Charles Lierk, 62, Alliance remained inside the building and was taken hostage by Gonzalez.

The Nebraska State Patrol (NSP) responded to the scene just after 9 a.m. NSP resources began assisting local authorities with setting up a perimeter and the clearing of nearby buildings.  

Just after 10:30 a.m., a trooper with the NSP SWAT team was wounded when gunfire was exchanged through a door into an adjacent building.

Trooper Tim Flick, 37, a 15-year veteran of the agency, suffered three gunshot wounds to the left side of his body, to include his arm and midsection.

Trooper Flick was transported to Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance where he remains in stable condition.

A second Alliance Police Officer suffered a shrapnel wound at the time Trooper Flick was shot. Officer Matt Shannon, 35, a five-year veteran of the Alliance Police Department was treated and released from the Box Butte General Hospital.

The Nebraska State Patrol established phone contact with the suspect inside the pharmacy and began negotiations.  

At approximately 4:30 p.m., pharmacy owner Lierk, escaped from the building. During his escape, he suffered a gunshot wound to the back and arm and was transported to Box Butte General Hospital in Alliance where he remains in stable condition.

At approximately 10:30 p.m., an exchange of gunfire occurred between Gonzales, who was barricaded inside a back office, and members of the NSP SWAT team.

At approximately 11:30 p.m., SWAT team members were able to confirm the suspect was deceased at the scene. No SWAT team members were injured.

The scene, in the 300 block of Box Butte Avenue was secured Wednesday. The initial investigation has determined the suspect was armed with an assault rifle, as well as a handgun.

The Box Butte County Attorney has scheduled an autopsy on the body of the suspect.  Nebraska law requires a Grand Jury be convened anytime someone dies while in the process of apprehension or in the custody of law enforcement.

The Box Butte County Attorney is continuing to assist Nebraska State Patrol in the investigation of the events leading up to the hostage situation and stand-off involving Andres Gonzales.

“This is a very complex and involved investigation,” said K. J. Hutchinson, Box Butte county attorney. “We continue to work multiple crime scenes and release of information will be subject to the Grand Jury process.”

The Nebraska State Patrol is also working a second crime scene at 472 Cody Avenue, Alliance. 

Investigators say a body identified as Larry Gonzalez, 62, Alliance was discovered deceased by law enforcement at approximately 10 a.m., Tuesday.

Larry Gonzalez is the father of the armed suspect, Andres Gonzalez.  An autopsy will be conducted to determine cause of death. The investigation continues.

 “I would like to commend everyone involved for their dedication and professionalism during this very dangerous situation,” said Colonel David Sankey, superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Flick, Officers Felker and Shannon, and Mr. Lierk, as well as all of the individuals touched by the tragic events. We will continue to work these cases and cooperate with the Box Butte County Attorney throughout the investigative process.”

The Nebraska State Patrol was assisted by law enforcement officers from the Alliance, Scottsbluff and Chadron Police Departments, Box Butte and Dawes County Sheriff’s Offices, Nebraska Game and Parks, Nebraska Brand Committee, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) negotiators.

Assistance was also provided by the Alliance Volunteer Fire Department, Nebraska Department of Roads and the City of Alliance.

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