Commerce man charged with first-degree murder.
COMMERCE – A Friday night fight between two Commerce men ended with one man dead and another charged with first-degree murder.
On Friday night Feb. 23, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) special agents were called to assist the Commerce Police Department in reference to a homicide at 410 South River in Commerce. There, agents found Jose Gonzales III, 30, dead in the yard, just two days before his 31st birthday and Homero Rozales Ceballos, 21, AKA Homero Ceballos Rozales.
Agents learned the two men had got into an argument and Ceballos shot Gonzales multiple times. Gonzales died at the scene.
According to the probable cause statement prepared by OSBI Special Agent Tammy Ferrari and filed in Ottawa County District Court, Gonzales was at his supervisor, Randy Rollins house in Miami and had been staying there.
Ceballos was visiting his friend, Gonzales, when Rollins arrived home. Rollins told Ceballos he was expecting company and asked him to leave.
Gonzales and Ceballos left together in Ceballos’ car, according to the witness.
“Rollins observed Homero with a ‘marijuana blunt’ and what Rollins believed was liquid codeine,” Ferrari writes in the filing.
According to Ferrari’s statement, Ceballos was interviewed on Feb. 24 after being advised of his Miranda Rights, and he gave a voluntary statement.
Ceballos told investigators he picked Gonzales up in Miami and the men returned to his house in Commerce.
“Gonzales wanted to smoke a joint in Homero’s car and Homero told Gonzales no. Gonzales then asked Homero to take him to Miami. Homero told Gonzales he did not have gas. Gonzales became agitated. While still in Homero’s car, Gonzales pulled a small gun from his left pocket and displayed it to Homero. Gonzales told Homero he would shoot Homero,” Ferrari wrote in the statement.
Both men exited the car and Ceballos told Gonzales he needed to go into his home to get other car keys. Instead, he entered the home and retrieved a large, black gun.
Ceballos went back outside and told Gonzales he would not be taking him to Miami and that he needed to leave.
According to the OSBI filing, “Gonzales pulled his gun and pointed it at Homero. Homero was able to pull his gun first and shoot Gonzales. Homero believed he shot Gonzales three times.”
Ferrari notes several discrepancies in Ceballos’ account of events in detail in her interview with Ceballos including whether he was a friend or just an acquaintance of Gonzales and his initial claim that Gonzales walked to his house, which he changed after being told this was not consistent with witnesses’ statements.
The probable cause statement says Ceballos had injuries to his right hand, ring, and little finger knuckles, which appeared to be recent.
In an interview with Ceballos' father, Jacobo Maldonado, who lived next door to his son, he told investigators he came outside after hearing a pop and saw Gonzales on the ground and Ceballos running back and forth, according to the filing.
Maldonado told investigators he knew Gonzales as a friend of Ceballos, and he called his daughter to call the police.
Another interview was conducted with Maria Ceballos, Homero’s sister, who arrived after the shooting.
“Maria tried to assist Gonzales. Maria tried to wake Gonzales. Homero told Maria he shot him, it was self-defense, because Gonzales tried to shoot him,” Ferrari wrote in part in the statement. “Maria believed she then picked up the gun that was located near Gonzales’ hand and took it inside the house because she did not want it to get lost in the mud and water. Upon officers’ arrival, officers asked for the gun. Maria retrieved the gun from a table inside the house. Maria wrapped the gun in a Christmas Santa hat and gave it to officers.”
Maria Ceballos told investigators in the past she had witnessed an agitated Gonzales coming to her brother’s house he shared with their mother who was ill, and him beating on the door.
Ferrari reports a search of the scene revealed bullet casings, which appear to be of a .45 caliber, that were recovered in the mud near Gonzales’ head.
“The handgun given to officers and said to have been used in the incident was a Glock 22, .40 caliber,” Ferrari wrote in the filing. “According to Homero, Gonzales pulled a small handgun on him and pointed it at him. A small handgun was not located at the scene near Gonzales. A small gun was located, later by the medical examiner, in Gonzales’ pant pocket.”
Gonzales appeared to have a gunshot wound to his torso and wrist and died at the scene from his injuries, according to the OSBI report.
Ceballos was arrested and booked into the Ottawa County jail for a charge of first-degree murder filed in Ottawa County District Court where he is being held without bond.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.