Dos Palos homicide suspect released after plea deal

A suspect in a Dos Palos homicide case was released this week after making a plea agreement with the prosecution.

Ricardo Salas Gonzalez, 20, was arrested as a suspect in a June 18 shootout between two drivers that resulted in the fatal wounding of Francisco Almaraz. The victim died from his wounds in the hospital a few weeks after the shooting. Dos Palos police believed it was gang-related.

Gonzalez on Thursday pleaded no contest to an assault with a firearm charge, getting an 11-month jail sentence. He was released from jail with credit for time served, Deputy District Attorney David Elgin said.

Elgin said a plea agreement was reached in the case because it was unclear which person was the aggressor in the shooting. “Based on all the evidence we had (the assault with a firearm charge) was all we could prove,” Elgin said.

A 15-year-old suspect was arrested in the case, but the charges against him were dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

Gonzalez’s attorney, William Davis, could not be reached at press time Friday.

The incident was reported about 3:25 p.m. June 18 in the area of Valeria Street and Highway 33.

Investigators say they think Almaraz was a passenger in one vehicle and Gonzalez was driving the other. The driver of the car Almaraz was in was injured during the shooting but has since recovered.