This is the Irish kid an Oregon cop riddled with bullets. His name was Andrew Hanlon, and he was a 20-year-old artist. He was also psychologically vulnerable and had overstayed his visa in the US.
No other firearm was found at the scene where Officer Tony Gonzales shot him seven times, and now the small-town police force is closing ranks against Andrew’s family. Closing them out. Refusing to comment. Refusing to tell them what became of their boy. Waiting for the trail to go cold.
The cover-up has started.
AJ’s sister and father were allowed to see the body and noted that he had two bullet holes in his arm, three in his abdomen, one in his thigh and one between his shoulder blades.
Andrew was shot in the back.
The police are closing ranks. Although a force from a nearby town is investigating, it appears that these people have considerable sympathy for Gonzales. They’re also ill-equipped to deal with the case. Silverton calls itself a city, but is in fact a small settlement of 7,000 people, and the police in this part of the US are not exactly at the cutting edge of investigative skill, even if they had the motivation to thoroughly investigate a fellow oficer. As the Hanlons’ lawyer said, It’s a fraternity.
It might be more of a fraternity than we realise. The city authorities are closing ranks, it seems. Having removed a memorial to Andrew, they then destroyed the various artworks and photos made for him by his friends.
As if that wasn’t enough, the medical examiner refused to give a copy of the autopsy report to the family, who will have to wait six weeks for information about the causes of his death. That’s three weeks after the Grand Jury hearing. As one correspondent put it, the report will be like an old dead herring left in unplugged refrigerator.
It seems that more than the police are closing ranks. This looks sinister, and to my eyes, would appear to warrant a Federal investigation. What is going on in Silverton? What sort of place is this, where town officials, police force and the medical examiner all seem to be acting with a common purpose?
There’s a worrying hint of Silverton’s intolerant side on this Barack Obama site, of all places.
Meanwhile, Andrew’s mother can’t afford the journey to Silverton, Oregon, or the transport costs to bring her dead son home. No way to say goodbye.
Be angry at this. It’s a disgrace.
UPDATE: Friends of AJ are starting to leave comments here. If anybody wants to tell their story about their friendship with him, or if you want to tell the world about the person he is, I’ll be happy to include it as part of this post.
UPDATE 13th July 2008
The individual who killed AJ is Tony Gonzales, a 35-year-old 240-pound former Marine, martial arts expert and cage fighter.
Gonzales has today been taken into custody on accusations of sexually abusing a minor. Tony Gonzales is being held on allegations of two charges of first-degree sexual abuse and three of third-degree sexual abuse.
I’m happy to go with the Egan family’s description of this man in the comment section:
A power hungry, trigger-happy coward – a thug.
The story is at Oregonlive, HERE
His Myspace page shows him sitting on his motorbike, under the slogan Ride hard or don’t ride at all.
All Bock posts on AJ Hanlon HERE
I believe that everyone should be held accountable. Justice must always be public, accessible and fair. Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.
Walter M. Beglau
Andrew’s family have set up a fund to help with their costs. If you’d like to contribute, these are the details.
Account name: Kate Hanlon re Andrew Hanlon Home Fund
Account number; 08376045
Sort code; 93 13 30
Bank; AIB Terenure, Dublin
AJ Hanlon 1988 – 2008Ã‚ RIP
Andrew was gentle and kind, even timid at times.
He froze at any type of confrontation or violence.
He had an ethereal imagination and loved to tell made up stories and he adored art.
He expressed himself greatly through drawing and painting.
Andrew James Hanlon.
A boy with a heart too big for this world,
an eagerness to make anyone smile or laugh
and eyes, big wondrous eyes
eyes that allowed you to see love, curiosity, compassion, sensitivity
even sadness, confusion and his inner struggle to make sense of it all.
But most of all – you could see hope.
Hope for a better tomorrow
and a brighter future.
A future that will no longer be.
Our hearts are shattered,
our souls are lost and
our spirits are broken.
We’d like to thank all those who have Andrew and our family in your thoughts and prayers.
Andrew’s aunt in California
The Egan Family:
Its a long time since we last met Dorothea and the Hanlons. AJ was only a toddler then. Lovely family and great kids: Melanie Jane, Eamonn Thomas and Mary Kate (as we knew them) Danielle not born back then. We knew the kids dad, Eamonn, thru family.
No one knows the full facts here but lets be straight about what we do know : AJ was riddled with bullets by this part-time police officer. No other shots have been fired either by AJ or other officers. Now think about that. Either the cop is trigger-happy or a coward!. An unarmed man! Why didn’t he simply wing him if he wanted to apprehend him.
Thousands of Irish parents including us, worry to death when we see off our kids at the Airport on their way to the States because life and attitudes have changed so much over there. Never mind the number of freaks at every corner, now the various police forces in the US seem to have been given or have assumed new powers/rules of engagement since 9/11. Lots of reports and anecdotal evidence from people who have lived and worked there tells us that the USA is fast becoming a police state.
Comments about AJ’s mental state, I believe, were off the cuff with no real diagnosis by a professional. Most teens, early 20s etc, have mental issues. Like us all in the past we have to grow up, get thru our anger, self doubt, paranoia etc..
Anyway, the bottom line: He was just a kid and he has been killed unnecessarily. I hope that cop can live with his conscience. AJ may have needed help but I cant believe, in any circumsances, that he needed to be shot to death.
RIP AJ and al our love to Dorothea, kids, Eamonn and extended family from Ger, Gina, Jamie, Ritchie and Keith Egan. Will be in touch..
I knew Andrew Hanlon very well as I was his landlord for a couple of years. I remember the first time I met Andrew how much I taken by his gentleness and lovely soft accent. He was the essence of ability and courtesy in all his dealings with me. He was a big soft Kid with no agression in him.
He came from a good family, albeit his parents were seperated. So what ? Andrew was very well reared and it showed.
I am sixty nine years old and I could have wrestled Andrew to the ground or have had a darn good try. So why all the shooting ? The police officer in this case is either a class A coward or a man who should not be given a gun.
This was a harmless young man and his life should not haved ended in this manner. People in Ireland are astounded at this abuse of power by one of your law officers and we will not accept any cover up of the truth. Andrew was unarmed I understand (As I would expect)
I knew Andrew very well and he was a lovely gentle lad with the biggest puppy dog eyes you ever saw.
When his mum and stepdad got married me and my mum attended the wedding and babysat for 2 weeks whilst his mum and dad honeymooned. I took him and his sister Kate back and forth to school every day and even took Andrew to a kind of open day when he was changing schools. Everyone thought I was his dad.
I can still see him coming down the lane with his little friend and my heart aches.
It also aches when I read about how he came from a troubled background. This family could not be more loving and close and Andrew had a loving upbringing and was a happy child. Don’t believe everything you read in the press. Take it from someone who has known the family for 20 years or so.
God bless you Doro and all the family our thoughts and prayers are with you
I really liked working with him while he was here. I was saddened to come back from a trip to find out he was gone. I always waved to him around town when I saw him after we were not working together anymore. He reminded me of one of my favorite characters from a book.
God be with you my Prince Carrick. I will miss you.
We love you A.J.
We, the young people of Silverton will defend, your honor, your character, and your dignity until the end. We will not sit down, we will not shut up. We will not let this be brushed over. We will stand in solidarity with you and your family until the truth is known. You are an innocent beautiful person. We know you and love you and will see that your reputation is not soiled by evil and deception.
to Kevin Lierman and every young adult in Silverton who loved Andrew. Your dedication to your beloved friend Andrew has been mind bending. Am so sorry I forgot to mention this in my recent post.Ã‚ You ARE THE ONES who got this going already, and I wish the people in Ireland could all know the work on his street memorial, the picketing of police station, the vigils you’ve held night after night by the spot where andrew was killed.
Of course you ARE THE ONES WHO WILL LEAD US ON. How did i miss this? Every single one of these young Silverton adults I’ve had contact with since Andrew died must be just like him Every one of these kids walks with integrity, compassion and soul. I am so very very proud of them. Ireland, please send these kids your love, ok? Yhey have been working so hard, day and night since Andrew was killed.
Local people talk about Andrew