Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 4 August 2015

US cop who killed Irishman is cage-fight cancer battler facing sex charges

Published 26/07/2008 | 13:26

Tony Gonzalez (35) was a certified, full-time officer for just over a year when he shot Andrew Hanlon dead.

Subsequent to the shooting -- and in an unrelated investigation -- Mr Gonzalez was charged with sexually abusing a teenage girl over several years.

He was refused bail at an Oregon court and remains in custody. He is due back before the court later this month.

Mr Gonzalez is a married father of one, an ex-marine and a cancer survivor.

The martial arts specialist always wanted to be a police officer.

Weighing over 17 stone, he also competed for many years as a cagefighter.

He was known as 'The Tomahawk' when off duty and was prominent on the competition circuit in the northwest of America.

He competed for many years but moved to coaching in recent times as he was afraid he might get injured and be unable to work.

One of his best friends, Denver Mayangitan, said Mr Gonzalez has "always been so balanced".

Mr Mayangitan said he is "speechless" about the allegations being made against his friend.

Mr Gonzalez was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1999 but, after surgery and chemotherapy,the disease retreated.

He started applying for police jobs in 1997 -- soon after he had left the US Marine Corps.

But the Oregon State Police would not hire him because of traffic tickets.

"I just wasn't getting hired and it was frustrating me," he told a local newspaper.

In 2001, while working full-time at another job, he volunteered as a reserve officer, moving to Silverton two years later.

It was in March of last year, that he got his police certification and joined the small town's 16 full-time officers.

Before the sex-abuse charges, Mr Gonzalez was already on administrative leave from the Silverton Police Department, pending the outcome of his shooting of Andrew Hanlon.

While on leave, Mr Gonzalez was arrested at his home after a teenage girl and her mother contacted police.

The teenager said the sexual touching began four or five years ago and stopped, according to court documents.

However, the girl told detectives that Mr Gonzalez resumed touching her two weeks ago.

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