17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Statement Re: Charging Decision Related to Mr. Armando Valdez Gonzalez
Brighton, CO — Following the arrest of Mr. Armando Valdez Gonzalez, the District Attorney’s Office completed a thorough review of the facts and circumstances and made a final determination not to file charges against Mr. Valdez Gonzalez. The basis for that decision is contained in the facts below.
Disclaimer: Mr. Armando Valdez Gonzalez’s name is being used in this release because it was publicly printed and broadcast by a number of local media outlets following his arrest.
On June 5, 2021, Mr. Armando Valdez Gonzalez attended a yard sale at a home in Westminster. The female homeowner believed that Mr. Valdez Gonzalez stole and was in possession of the bag she was using to carry cash for the yard sale. The woman confronted Mr. Valdez Gonzalez, but he informed her that she was mistaken and that the bag he was in possession of belonged to him.
The woman and her husband did not believe Mr. Valdez Gonzalez, and they attempted to prevent him from leaving the location. Mr. Valdez Gonzalez, who was in the front seat of his truck with the window down, drove away from the area. When he did so, the woman fell to the ground and sustained injuries as a result of the fall.
Mr. Valdez Gonzalez contacted police to inform them of the incident and to assure them he did not steal a bag containing money from the yard sale. Mr. Valdez Gonzalez’s wife also gave her husband’s bag to the police so they could review it. It is a bag he often uses when visiting yard sales. The female homeowner also reviewed the bag and confirmed it was not hers. The woman’s husband later called the police to inform them that they had, in fact, found their bag from the yard sale.
As the facts and circumstances outlined above make clear, the original allegations arose from a regrettable mistake and misunderstanding. Not only did Mr. Valdez Gonzalez commit no crime, but he also took every opportunity to contact the appropriate authorities. Accordingly, there is no basis for the filing of criminal charges against Mr. Valdez Gonzalez. The homeowners were informed, understood, and agreed with the decision.
District Attorney Mason assumed the oath of office on January 12, 2021. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office endeavors to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Adams and Broomfield counties in felony and misdemeanor cases. DA Mason and his staff are dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system to better serve the citizens of the 17th Judicial District.
Ms. Gazelka is a forensic therapist and clinician in Denver, Colorado. She is currently focused on providing therapy and assessment services to adult offenders in the community corrections and parole systems as a supervisor at Correctional Psychology Associates (CPA). Her education and career have been devoted to the intersection of psychology and law since 2000. Ms. Gazelka has been working within the field of forensic and correctional psychology since 2006, providing therapy in the community and acute mental health care and risk assessments in county jails. She has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor since June 2012. She also became a Licensed Addiction Counselor in March 2014. She was listed as a full operating level DVOMB Approved Provider in June 2019 and started a fledgling DV program oriented to Colorado’s Department of Corrections at CPA in September 2019. Ms. Gazelka was appointed to the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) in March 2019 and has started her second term with the board. Ms. Gazelka has been recognized for her work as Contributor of the Year at CPA in 2010 and 2012, as well as having been awarded an Alumni Impact Award for her forensic work in the community by University of Denver’s GSPP in 2019. Ms. Gazelka received her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Clinical Psychology from University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2009. Ms. Gazelka also received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 2007, obtaining attorney’s licenses in both Minnesota and Colorado (currently inactive).
Alex Castro Croy
Alex Castro Croy is a bilingual, bicultural, Trauma and Addiction Counselor and owner/Lead Clinician of Life Recovery Centers in Denver and Northglenn Colorado.
A first-generation immigrant from Mexico who accomplished his dream in higher education receiving an AA in Pastoral Ministry (Dallas, Texas), Bachelor of Science in Human Services (MSU in Denver, Colorado) and MA in Community Counseling from Regis University (Denver, Co). He is continuing to pursue his MA/Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Jungian and Archetypal Studies.
Alex’s passion includes training, teaching, counseling, and consulting. He has been an Adjunct Professor for the Human Services Department at MSU-Denver for 9 years. He has served as an Interventionist for the Latino GLBTQ community, Drug Court Probation Officer at Denver Juvenile Court Probation (8 years), Bilingual Diversion Officer for Denver DA office (5 years), and currently owner and director of Life Recovery Centers (7 years). He has worked with a variety of clients from all walks of life and his eclectic therapeutic interventions have proven to be effective in treating trauma and addiction.
Thea Wessel is an addictions counselor with a private practice in Colorado. She has been working in the criminal and addiction fields for thirteen years. Ms. Wessel earned her Masters in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and has her LPC, LAC, MAC, NCAAC, and ADS. She is working towards her Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ms. Wessel continually challenges herself and others to provide quality addiction treatment and ways to continue to educate the community about addiction issues.