For the past 42 years, Lt. Joe Gonzalez has worked his way into the hearts of just about everybody.
“Oh he’s a guy not only the Hispanic community, the police community the City of Des Moines community as well, well-respected, well liked well-known,” says Mike Gonzalez.
Youngest brother mike worked with Joe in the police force. Mike says he always remembered his brother’s love for helping out the community.
“Even just speaking with him in the hospital bed he was still concerned about events that were coming up and so on and I had to tell him to relax and focus on himself first.”
On Saturday, Joe was working as an off – duty security guard at the world food prize building downtown.
A delivery truck tried to squeeze through a narrow loading dock and Joe got pinned between the truck and a granite wall.
As a former police officer, Mike was used to delivering bad news to others, not hearing it.
“There was a knock on the door, it was one of those where you almost didn`t want to answer the door because all you knew there was an accident and your brother,” says Mike Gonzalez.
The truck crushed 13 of Joe’s ribs and collapsed both lungs; heartbreaking news for the booming Hispanic community that needs him most.
“He’s so well-known and people know to call on him. I don`t know what they`re going to do. It’s going to cause a big gap the police department,” say Executive Director of Two Latinos Resources.
Joe is the mediator between police and Spanish speakers and also volunteered with Hispanic organizations.
Mackey says, “He`s a wonderful leader, he’s always there no matter what he’s always there to help you.”
Possible charges are pending for the driver of the delivery truck. The Des Moines traffic unit is currently investigating.