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Julie Meadows Brings Up the Israel Gonzalez Shootout as a Parallel to the Tragic Steve Driver Events

Julie Meadows writes on – I feel really bad for everyone involved in this [the Driver incident]. If you don’t know, Steve Driver [pictured] worked for Ultima DVD, Inc. and also lived at the office building, and for some reason (they say because he was getting fired and kicked out, though I’m sure there’s so much more to it than that), he took hold of a machete, located in the building, and killed one man and wounded two other people.

Letting someone live in your office building may seem like a kind thing to do, but this is the second violent situation in the adult industry, that I am aware of, to arise from someone living in an office building. The first being the shootout at Evil Angel when a man was living in the warehouse and police investigated one night. I tried to find a story on this, but I couldn’t….

Gene says: I’ve written about the Israel Gonzalez shootout a number of times, here was my most recent Adultfyi posting on it…June 4, 2008 at the time the cops were looking for Israel Mireles:

Porn Valley- I guess if your name’s Israel it might not be a good idea to be involved in any way, shape or form with the porn industry.

The point hit home Wednesday like a shattered Major League baseball bat when Mexico announced it had agreed to extradite Israel Mireles [pictured]. Mireles is the main suspect in the murder of the 18-year-old college student Emily Sander. While attending college, Sander worked as an Internet porn star named Zoey Zane. Sander was last seen leaving a bar with Mireles on November 23rd. She was later found dead.

Mireles, who fled to Mexico, is charged with murder, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy.

Granted, Mireles’ ties to the adult industry are tenuous at best, but there was another Israel who had much stronger ones to porn, however. This was Israel “Gargoyle” Gonzalez, a 28 year-old set designer, editor and cameraman, who apparently shot himself during a gun battle with the Glendale police. An officer named Det. Charles Lazzaretto, a 10 year-veteran of the Glendale force, was, likewise, killed in an exchange of SWAT team gunfire with Gonzalez.

The incident occurred late on the night of May 27, 1997 at Elegant Angel’s warehouse in Canoga Park. What Gonzalez was doing there as well as the Glendale police is the story.

Gonzalez, who had been working for Elegant Angel, maintained a private loft office space built in the warehouse. Gonzalez, who began his industry career working for director John T. Bone and who was the P.A. on the Annabel Chong gangbang, had been sought by the Glendale police over a domestic dispute.

Gonzalez’s girlfriend, Michelle Bowen, called police reporting that Gonzalez had attacked her. Gonzalez and Bowen shared a volatile relationship over the course of eight years- one that was interpolated by a series of epic screaming matches.

On this particular occasion, Michelle Bowen claimed that Gonzalez not only shot her with a taser gun, but stuffed a rag in her mouth to muffle her cries. According to Bowen, Gonzalez then tied her up and slammed her head against a bathtub. The incident apparently stemmed over Gonzalez being accused of seeing another woman.

Acting on information that Gonzalez sometimes stayed at the warehouse, two plainclothes detectives showed up at 11:30 PM attempting to speak to him.

According to news sources at the scene, when the detectives finally gained entrance, Gonzalez ambushed one of them, shooting him in the head.

Failed attempts with tear gas precipitated an all-night standoff with SWAT teams. Gunfire was exchanged. Two LAPD officers were also shot when they entered the building to rescue Det. Lazzaretto. One of the wounded officers was hit in the arm; the second underwent surgery for leg, buttocks and arm wounds. Det. Lazzaretto was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Gonzalez, who once vowed he would go out in a blaze of glory, joined Elegant Angel in late 1996 after seven years as Bone’s art director.

Gonzalez, himself, had shot amateur and gonzo vids for Bone and sometimes appeared as a performer in them named Max DeNiro or Max Ren. Gonzalez also appeared in the early releases of the Harry Horndog amateur series owned at the time by the now-defunct Zane Entertainment Group. In an interview Gonzalez stated how he chose the DeNiro name because a woman remarked he bore a resemblance to the actor.

As you might expect with these types of psychotic flare ups, Gonzalez was described as a quiet man and a controlled individual. This was according to Bone, who said in the seven years Gonzalez had worked for him, Bone never saw him lose his temper.

“He took my shit and never lost it,” Bone had said at the time of the tragedy. But Gonzalez did take Bone’s shit and, quite literally, in another sense. Because Bone went on to describe how Gonzalez made a practice of systematically robbing his sets of props.

“I caught Gonzalez doing it,” Bone added. “That stopped him but Elegant Angel made him an offer that was far and above what I was paying him. What Elegant Angel didn’t know was that Israel started working for me again behind their backs.”

Although a somewhat uneasy detante prevailed between Bone and Gonzalez, Bone said he loved him like a son.

“A kleptomaniac son but a son nonetheless.”

To support his comment, Bone detailed quirks in Gonzalez’s personality that included midnight raids on Hollywood dumpsters which Gonzalez staged in search of props to load in his van. With these midnight acquisitions, the enterprising Gonzalez started up a Glendale-based movie prop company of his own called Columns, Smokes and Chains.

“Israel once showed me a store set which he ‘liberated’ from Walt Disney,” Bone mused. “Israel was ‘the great liberator.’ He liberated half my garage after he stopped working for me.”

Bone first struck up a relationship with Gonzalez while Gonzalez was working out of a small editing bay on Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood. Gonzalez subsequently went to work for Bone and became Bone’s self-described “right-hand.”

In a bizarre epitaph to the Gonzalez shoot out, Elegant Angel had been planning a Pulp Fiction-style shoot-em-up as one of their next major features.


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