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'He would have helped anybody': 17-year-old shot and killed at Brighton park

Josiah Gonzales
Posted at 6:20 AM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 23:15:03-04

DENVER — His future aspirations, goals, dreams and endeavors were cut far too short.

Josiah Gonzales only experienced 17 years of this world before a suspect, who Brighton police are looking for, ended his life Tuesday night at Ken Mitchell Park shortly before 9:30 p.m.

Less than 24 hours later, Ashley Huerta identified Gonzales as her son, as she was consoled by family while visiting the scene Wednesday.

"He would help anybody that needed help," she said. "If somebody needed the shirt off his back, he would give it to them."

Police say witnesses heard an argument between Gonzales and another individual, who officers have not identified, before the shooting occurred.

Gonzales leaves behind two younger brothers and would have been attending his last year at Innovations and Options High School in the fall.

While he was open minded about where his education would take him, Huerta says Gonzales wanted to be a truck driver like his grandpa.

"He would have been a senior next year, graduating with straight A's and B's," the teen's mother said.

Huerta says Gonzales enjoyed fishing, hanging out with his friends, meeting new people and playing video games.

In the months leading up to the shooting, Huerta says her son received several threats by people he knew, which she reported to the police.

"They would send him pictures of guns to his phone and ask him where he's at, and he would just ignore it," Huerta said.

While investigators were unable to confirm those details amid their investigation, they did confirm that the suspect may have known Gonzales.

At this time, police don't believe there's a threat to the public.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Brighton Police Department Investigation Division at 303-655-8740. Witnesses can also submit anonymous tips to Denver Metro Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or online.

Denver 7+ Colorado News Latest Headlines | July 13, 11am

Editor's Note: This story has been updated after police identified the victim as a teen instead of a man, as originally reported.