Man jailed after deadly exchange of gunfire early New Year’s Day in Surprise

Jan 2, 2024, 11:32 AM | Updated: 2:14 pm

Split image of shooting suspect Manuel Gonzales' booking photo and a Surprise Police Department pat...

Manuel Gonzales was booked into jail on a count of second-degree murder after a deadly shooting in Surprise, Arizona, on Jan. 1, 2024. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Facebook/Surprise Police Department photos)

(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Facebook/Surprise Police Department photos)

PHOENIX — One man is dead and another is accused of murder after a conflict in a West Valley neighborhood turned deadly on New Year’s Day, authorities said.

Manuel V. Gonzales, 39, and Xavier Elias, 20, apparently exchanged gunfire early Monday after a verbal confrontation outside Gonzales’ home near Greenway Road and Grand Avenue/U.S. 60 in Surprise, according to court documents.

Officers responded to the scene for a shooting call around 5:30 a.m., the Surprise Police Department said in a media advisory Monday evening.

Elias had been taken to a hospital with multiple gunshot wounds before officers arrived, police said. He later died of his injuries.

Monday’s media advisory described the incident as “a verbal dispute between neighbors” that escalated into gunfire, but it didn’t provide information about any arrests or suspects.

What led up to deadly New Year’s Day shooting in Surprise?

However, court documents obtained by KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday morning show that Gonzales called 911 after the shooting and was taken to a police station for questioning. He was then booked into jail on one count of second-degree murder, a class 1 felony. His bond was set at $500,000.

Police announced Tuesday afternoon that Gonzales had been arrested.

The probable cause statement for Gonzales’ arrest said it was “unclear as to who the aggressor was in the situation based upon the statements provided.”

Gonzales had been outside enjoying a fire with his wife and some neighbors and exchanged words with Elias on more than one occasion from approximately 2:30 a.m. to 3:45 a.m. Elias apparently passed Gonzales’ home several times during that time while walking with other people between a parked vehicle and a residence down the street.

Gonzales said he often kept himself armed because his neighborhood was in “a rough area.”

He told police he picked up his rifle because he believed Elias had pointed a gun at him after one confrontation, according to the probable cause statement. He said he heard one or two gunshots before firing his AR-15-style weapon multiple times.

Elias “got up and gimped his way back to a vehicle before leaving the scene,” the probable cause statement says. Gonzales then went inside and called 911.

The investigation is ongoing.

This is an updated version of a story that was originally published on Jan. 1, 2024.

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Man jailed after deadly exchange of gunfire early New Year’s Day in Surprise