Business owner recuperating at home; assailant identified


The owner of a Gonzales auto paint and body shop is recovering at home after he was shot by an associate Wednesday afternoon, GCSO deputies said.

Meanwhile, his alleged assailant, identified as Anthony Michael Benitez, 49, has been charged with one count of aggravated assault of a date, family member or member of household with a weapon, a first-degree felony; one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony; or deadly conduct discharge of firearm, a third-degree felony. Benitez remains in custody at the Gonzales County Jail in lieu of bond.

Jeff Gonzales, owner of Jeff’s Paint Auto & More, was transported to a San Antonio hospital after being shot at his place of business by Benitez at about 1:48 p.m. Wednesday, July 13.

Benitez was apprehended a short time later by deputies responding to the call, the Gonzales County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Allison Gonzales, Jeff’s wife, said Thursday, “He is doing good. He is at home recovering. This is a true miracle from God that he is alive. He wants to tell everyone thank you for praying for him. He gives everything to God for him being here. Just continue to pray for him and the family.”

The first-degree felony charge against Benitez stems from his residing on the same property as Gonzales.

According to Texas law, individuals who reside within the same dwelling without regard to relationship are considered to be part of the same household, which enhances the offense and the penalties that come with it.

The Texas Rangers are continuing to investigate the incident. It is believed the shooting occurred following an earlier disagreement between Gonzales and Benitez.