The man involved in a shooting with Mesa council candidate JT Ready remained in jail Tuesday — more than 12 days after the early morning incident.
But Ready, a Minuteman Project volunteer and a concealed-weapons instructor, received almost immediate exoneration in the March 9 incident.
That’s because officers at the scene found Ready more credible than Eduardo Godina, a 32-year-old Hispanic who spoke limited English, carried no identification and lacked resources to post a $1,000 cash bond. Police had no witnesses in the case except Ready and Godina.
Sgt. Chuck Trapani said Ready provided a consistent story and identified Godina, his BB gun and the license plate of the truck he was riding in, while police found many inconsistencies in Godina’s story.
“Where we developed probable cause is Ready was asked over and over multiple times, and his story was consistent throughout every interview,” Trapani said.
But a police report shows that officers interrogated Godina at the station in English because no Spanishspeaking detectives were available.
Godina spoke some English and read his Miranda Rights aloud in English before agreeing to be interviewed, the report states.
“The detective, in his professional opinion, believed Godina knew enough English to understand what was happening and spoke enough back to him,” Trapani said.
But Mesa-based criminal defense attorney Marc Victor, who is not involved in the case, said conducting the interrogation in English might raise issues at trial.
“If a judge believes this guy did not understand exactly what was going on, a judge is likely to suppress the statements,” Victor said.
Regardless, the report indicates that officers had already cleared Ready of wrongdoing hours before Godina had a chance to talk to detectives about 5:35 a.m.
Officers at the scene gave Ready the option of driving himself to the station to press charges.
And even before the officers contacted Ready, a 911 operator had already assured him that the gunshot he fired was justified.
“You did the right thing,” the operator says on a 911 tape.
Ready told police he saw about eight Hispanic men jumping over fences, hiding behind objects and getting in and out of vehicles about 1 a.m.
He said he decided to follow the “suspicious” vehicles to get a license plate number. He said he followed the men until they reached a dead end.
“When they turned down that dead-end street, they figured they were trapped,” Ready told the 911 operator. “That’s when they came running at me from the car.”
He said Godina pulled a weapon and fired at him, prompting him to jump from his borrowed vehicle and return fire with a registered handgun that he carried in an ankle holster.
The 911 tape portrays an initially shaken Ready, who reports that “a bunch of Mexican gang-bangers” were shooting at him.
Godina possessed a BB gun that resembled a handgun at the time of his arrest.
He told police he never showed the gun and denied being in the truck that turned down a dead-end street with Ready following. Godina said he was shooting at a park, and a Hispanic male had shot at him earlier in the night.
Police also pulled over the vehicle pursued by Ready and found no weapons and made no arrests.
CALLING THE MEDIA
Ready talked to detectives at the station and then immediately called the news media — less than one week before the City Council election.
He left a message at the Tribune newsroom about 4 a.m. regarding a shootout with “gang-bangers.”
Following news reports of the incident, Ready said he received positive feedback from voters.
But he finished second in a four-person race that included Hispanic candidate Pat Esparza, who ran third.
Ready promised voters he would enforce immigration laws in a council district that has a growing Hispanic population, is home to day laborer pick-up spots and increasing racial tensions.
Minuteman members are making weekly protests at day labor spots in Mesa, including one Tuesday at Mesa Drive and Broadway Road.
Godina, meanwhile, sits in a county jail cell without anyone able or willing to post his $1,000 cash bond on two misdemeanor charges of threatening or intimidating and assault. His first court hearing in Mesa City Court was postponed until Monday.
“With no identification, no mailing address, no contact number and no employer to call, it’s hard to release,” said Mesa Presiding Judge Matt Tafoya, who did not personally set the bond amount. “If you do, the issue would be: What are the chances of him coming back?”
Godina has an immigration hold on him, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Paul Chagolla said, meaning the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will take custody of him if he is released on bond.
Godina denied a Tribune interview request.
Ready said Tuesday he supports pursuing charges against Godina.
“It’s common sense to me,” Ready said.
“What is an illegal alien doing here hiding in bushes, acting suspiciously and chasing me down with a BB gun? That should be the question.”