Arrest warrant issued for suspect in shooting of ex-Cal Poly football player

Crime scene tape is put up at the house where a shooting occurred Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, near Cal Poly.
Crime scene tape is put up at the house where a shooting occurred Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, near Cal Poly.

Charges have been filed and an arrest warrant issued for one of two suspects involved in the November shooting of a former Cal Poly football player during an apparent drug deal gone bad.

On Tuesday morning, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office filed four felony charges against Brian Thomas Gonzales, 23, of Castro Valley: burglary, possession for sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy to sell narcotics and being an accessory after the fact. Authorities had not arrested Gonzales as of Tuesday evening.

The alleged victim in the case, 22-year-old Yorba Linda resident and Cal Poly senior Geoffrey Hyde, has been removed from the football team roster, where he most recently served as a student assistant coach, and has been barred by the university from football-related activities.

Efforts to reach Hyde through social media were not answered Tuesday.

The shooting occurred the night of Nov. 21 on the 400 block of Buena Vista Avenue just south of the Cal Poly campus.

According to a San Luis Obispo Police Department news release, two men entered the house, possibly to complete a drug transaction, when an altercation ensued between Hyde and one of the assailants. The assailant pulled out a handgun and shot Hyde in the back before fleeing, police said.

Court documents recently unsealed in the case show that police investigators had considered Gonzales a suspect following interviews with witnesses the night of the shooting and had originally issued a warrant for his arrest Nov. 22.

According to an affidavit attached to that warrant, Gonzales was identified by two guests at the residence as “Pooh Bear,” who reportedly entered the residence at about 7:30 p.m. with another as-yet-unidentified man, believed to be the shooter.

According to a statement given to officers by Hyde, the suspects were friends of Hyde’s roommate, Andrew Alcaraz, 24, of Castro Valley. Alcaraz is listed on the Cal Poly website as a member of the 2013 football team. As a fifth-year senior, Alcaraz is no longer eligible to play, a Cal Poly official said.

Alcaraz was not at the residence at the time of the shooting and later cooperated with investigators.

Hyde allegedly told officers that he did not know the gunman but did know “Pooh Bear.” He said the suspects were there for the “prescription.” At some point, the unidentified suspect drew a handgun, and a struggle resulted in a single gunshot wound to Hyde’s right shoulder blade.

He was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery to remove the bullet from his abdomen, where it had lodged.

In Hyde’s bedroom that night, officers allegedly discovered “numerous” pills, packaged in strips of 20. The pills were later determined to be the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam, known by the brand name Xanax, which has a high risk of abuse, according to police. In addition, officers allegedly discovered small, empty plastic packaging envelopes and tin foil with burn marks, consistent with paraphernalia used to smoke pills.

No charges have been filed against Hyde, but San Luis Obispo police Lt. John Bledsoe pointed out that the investigation is ongoing.

“We don’t know that he is (going to be charged) or not,” Bledsoe said. “Mr. Hyde was obviously very seriously injured in this, and at this point we’re trying to resolve the shooting aspect of the investigation.”

Bledsoe said Tuesday afternoon that the department is still working on leads to identify the second man that witnesses on the scene described to investigators in court records as the shooter.

He is described as a black male in his 20s, about 6 feet tall, with a lanky build and wearing a gray “South Pole” sweatshirt and jeans on Nov. 21.

According to Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier, the university has been awaiting the results of the police investigation into the incident before determining whether to conduct an internal investigation.

“Our University Police Department has reached out to San Luis Obispo police for information on the case and will work with our Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and any other appropriate departments on campus to determine what investigations are necessary,” Lazier wrote in an email Tuesday afternoon.

The university says Hyde, an all-conference center who played for Cal Poly from 2009 to 2012, was removed as an assistant coach from the athletic department’s 2013 online roster the night of the shooting. However, his name continued to appear on the website as recently as December.

The athletics department barred him from further football activity following the shooting, Lazier wrote.

The District Attorney’s Office confirmed the charges Tuesday but declined to comment further pending the ongoing investigation.

According to Bledsoe, Gonzales is not believed to be residing in San Luis Obispo, and authorities are attempting to contact him.