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Family of California prisoner who died on hunger strike speaks out

February 23, 2012

Christian Gomez

The death of Christian Gomez, first martyr of the California hunger strike, was the top story on Democracy Now! for Feb. 24, 2012, broadcast on 1,024 TV and radio stations around the U.S.

Feb. 23, 2012 – The family of Christian Gomez, the 27-year-old prisoner who died while on hunger strike at California’s Corcoran State Prison, is speaking out about the loss of their family member in the hope that similar incidents in the future are avoided.

Christian Gomez had not told his family members of his intentions to participate in the Jan. 27-Feb. 13 hunger strike held by ASU inmates in protest of their conditions. According to an interview with Gomez’ sister, Yajaira Lopez, she “found out when the coroner, Tom [Edmonds], implied that there was a possibility of a chemical imbalance due to a hunger strike he was participating in. That’s the first I heard of this. Back in September or October when he first was transferred there, he did tell me that they were having a hunger strike to fight for their rights, but he was in general population.”

Contrary to earlier reports that he had only been on a hunger strike for four days when he died, Terry Thornton confirmed to Solitary Watch that Gomez joined the strike on Jan. 27 with 31 other men. This means that he had been on hunger strike for a week at the time of his death.

The family says that Gomez had high blood pressure, thyroid and kidney problems. According to Lopez, before being sent to Corcoran he had been incarcerated at High Desert State Prison for four years. “He told me things were a lot different at this prison and that he didn’t receive the same medical attention he received over at High Desert,” she said.

Gomez was found unresponsive in his cell at an unconfirmed time on Feb. 2. Reports from other inmates indicate that they had pounded on their cell doors and screamed to get the attention of the correctional officers. He was declared dead at Corcoran District Hospital at 12:22 p.m.

Christian Gomez
According to Lopez: “My mother received the call of my brother’s death on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, at approximately 1 p.m. She then called me hysterically and that’s when I went over to her house. When I got there, I asked her who called and she said someone from the prison. [I] asked her if they gave her a number where we could call to obtain more info and she said no. They told her that she would receive a letter in the mail explaining everything and where we could claim the body … I was so upset that things were being handled this way; for God sake, we were talking about a human being, not an animal.”

“They told her that she would receive a letter in the mail explaining everything and where we could claim the body … I was so upset that things were being handled this way; for God sake, we were talking about a human being, not an animal.”

In a phone call with Solitary Watch, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson Terry Thornton confirmed that Gomez had been placed in solitary confinement in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) pending investigation of assault on another inmate with a weapon on Jan. 14, 2012. Thornton would not confirm the status of this investigation.

The Bay View has received an as yet unconfirmed report that Gomez had not been charged and the investigation had concluded that he had not committed the assault.

According to CDCR, Gomez was serving a life sentence for first degree murder and attempted murder, but his sister suggests he may have been wrongfully convicted. Asked how she would like people to remember her brother, Lopez responded: “He was a genuine person that had not lost hope in the system. He knew that he would eventually get out. Although he had made bad choices in who he hung around with, he didn’t murder anyone. The witnesses in his case never identified him. On the contrary, but yet he was still convicted. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford a good attorney and he got screwed.

“He didn’t murder anyone. The witnesses in his case never identified him. On the contrary, but yet he was still convicted. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford a good attorney and he got screwed.”

“He was very caring with his family and friends and therefore he will be greatly missed by those who knew him. He had matured a lot in prison and can be remembered by those who knew him as a prankster. There was never a dull moment with him.

“He always had a big smile when we visited him and never discussed how bad things were in there to not worry us. He always said he was fine. Even in the last letter he wrote on Jan. 30, which my mom received on Feb. 3, he wrote that he was fine.”

Sal Rodriguez, reporter, researcher and social media manager for Solitary Watch, where this story first appeared, can be reached at rodrigsa@reed.edu. Bay View staff contributed to this story. Photos courtesy of the family of Christian Gomez.

 

33 thoughts on “Family of California prisoner who died on hunger strike speaks out

      1. hahaha

        He did this to himself, how do you think his victims family feels? He stole the life of his victim. He murdered 1 person and attempted to murder 2 other people.

        Reply
        1. bubbly12

          How dare you! He didn't kill anyone! Who laughs at someone's death? You! You are not a person of society, you're the real monster! An ignorant and naive person who is willing to believe lies that the media claims. If you knew him you'd know he's innocent. You also can't tell a family not to care! He is not a waist! Also Mr.hahaha, these are real people suffering while you're sitting in a comfy chair and thinking the 'drains' are worthless, keep it to yourself! You may think you're a wonderful person but try telling everyone what your opinions of these people. They might have a different statement..

          Reply
          1. hahaha

            The real monsters are the friends and family that didn't love him enough to stop him from joining a gang and committing crimes in the first place. Its easy to visit someone in prison, write a few letters and throw money on their books. You know where they are 24/7, that they have a bed, health care, hygiene products, 3 meals (if they choose to eat it) and access to education, NA, AA, anger management classes, and parenting classes. Where was the outcry from the family & friends when he was out on the street with gang members? Committing crimes? Ditching school? Where was the love and concern for him then?

            Where was the outcry for his victims family and friends? He was a convicted murder, that was also charged with attempted murder, and under investigation for another attempted murder. Have you reached out to his victims and seen the pain and suffering that Christian Gomez caused? How many nights did they cry themselves to sleep? The son, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend that he took away.

            He was 27 and didn't appear to be overweight in the photos (not sure how old they were), but he had a lot of health issues. "The family says that Gomez had high blood pressure, thyroid and kidney problems." Sounds like this angel liked to use drugs & alcohol.

            Lies the media claims? He is a convicted felon, a murder, who was in the hole for assault with a weapon. Based on the health issues his own family said he had, he more than likely used illegal drugs and alcohol. He was a gang member, that after only 2 weeks in the hole he tagged along with other gang members to go on a hunger strike. He was a grown man that put the gang life ahead of himself, his family, and his friends.

            The drains are those that do not contribute to society. Whether they are in prison, on welfare or manipulating the system to not positively function in society. Please positively influence others in your community so they don't end up like him, a convicted felon, a gang member, a murderer.

            My issue is with discounting the pain and suffering of the victims, and their friends and family have gone through. It seems like everyone in prison is innocent, the only innocent ones are the victims of the crimes. Where is the outcry for the victims?

          2. bubbly12

            How many times do I have to tell people he was framed dammit! How do you know his family and friends didn't try! Think how much his mother cried every single night because her son died in vain. The pain his older sister has to go through! His little sister! How do think she feels! She lost someone who understood her feelings! How do you know anything about pain! You know nothing! Chris was the greatest and had a kind heart! So I won't let you or anyone else say things bad about him. Oh by the way find this so called victim of his. Here's a hint, there are none. He was framed. Also what's the point of you being here? You know family members of his will read this! If you're wondering why I know he didn't do this, I happen to know him. So what's your point of making false accusations of someone you don't know.

          3. Yajaira Lopez

            Omg really?!?! U had so much time to write all this crap. You really need to get a job or something productive to do with your life. Btw you dnt get high blood pressure & thyroid problems from drugs you idiot. God some ppl are truly ignorant. Anyway those Heath problems he'd had for a long time and they weren't any worse so either he wasn't receiving medical attention or his meds were prob not given to him. Get a life

          4. hahaha

            Read my other post, I have a job & I volunteer with at risk youth. I am a very productive member in society and I actively work towards helping future generations achieve a higher status (college educated/Career).

            Here is some education for you.

            "Thyroid
            Alcohol
            Your immune system can be disturbed by outside factors, forcing it to attack your thyroid and cause hyperthyroidism. The chances of this happening are increased by lack of exercise, smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol. If you are suffering from alcoholism and a thyroid condition, you should consider that one condition can affect the other adversely. Excessive drinking can increase your chances of developing an overactive thyroid."

            "Drug-induced hypertension is high blood pressure caused by using a chemical substance, drug, or medication

            Drugs that can cause hypertension include:

            Alcohol, amphetamines, ecstasy (MDMA and derivatives), and cocaine"

            "What Causes High Blood Pressure?

            The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known. Several factors and conditions may play a role in its development, including:

            Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
            Family history of high blood pressure
            Chronic kidney disease
            Adrenal and thyroid disorders"

            "Kidney Disease

            Alcohol
            Heavy drinking can hurt both your kidneys and your liver. Alcoholics have a high risk of developing both kidney and liver failure.

            Illegal Drugs
            Most street drugs, including heroin, cocaine and ecstasy can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and even death, in some cases from only one use. Cocaine, heroin and amphetamines also can cause kidney damage."

            "Drugs that can cause kidney damage:

            Heroin
            Inhalants
            MDMA
            PCP"

  1. hahaha

    I am not hopeless at all. I contribute positively to society and haven't killed, or attempted to kill anyone. I am not a gang member, and I support my family by legal means. I am a positive role model, and volunteer with at risk youth. I try to prevent others from throwing their lives away like the convicted felon Christian Gomez. Maybe had his family and friends valued being a positive member of society he wouldn't have been in prison crying over not having access to a TV. He's not a martyr, he's a convicted murder who was unhappy with the situation that he put himself in. Everyone is responsible for their own actions, when will those that are a drain on society understand this?

    Reply
      1. hahaha

        My comments are very positive, I support victim rights. I support those that were killed, robbed, raped, assaulted, harassed etc… and their family and friends. I support the children that lost a parent because someone was an animal and took them away.

        Reply
        1. bubbly12

          He didn't take anyone away! Didn't you read what his sister wrote? He hung out with the bad crowed. You don't know Christian Gomez? Are you telling me that all felons families are uncaring? Some people do horrible things inhuman things. But they are still humans. Not animals. They eat, they sleep, they talk, and they have emotions. Your comments are not positive. Your saying crap about someone who has died. It's like your spitting in the family who is suffering. Why won't you and all those uncaring ignorant people leave them in peace?! What have they ever done to you? I hope you understand this. Christian Gomez is not a monster neither is his family. They are all HUMAN!!!

          Reply
  2. Bubbly12

    How dare you! He never killed anyone! If you want to talk crap about someone go somewhere else because you may think you’re a ‘Member of Society’ but truth is your naive and ignorant person who is willing to believe lies. If you knew him, you would know the kind of person he is!

    Reply
  3. jokes

    Sounds to me like MR HAHAHA is just another one of kids that just got fucked everyday in his life and he just cant get over it. MR HAHAHA it’s time you move on remenber your here on earth for a short layover and your final destination is in HEAVEN where Christian Gomez is already resting. So in another words you got fucked once again. STOP HATEING!!!!

    Reply
  4. Joja

    MR HAHAHA stop hating. Live is to short. Besides our final destination es HEAVEN and looks like Christian already beat you there. So STOP it already.

    Reply
    1. hahaha

      Heaven? lol He was an active gang member who murdered 1 person and attempted to murder 2 other people. 2 weeks prior to his death he participated to an attempted murder. It doesn't sound like he repented his sins and ill life. Gang members are satan's disciples, they wreak havoc on the communities they infest.

      Reply
      1. Jamie Gomez

        Shut up! No one wants you here. Get a fucking life and leave him alone! What do people have to do to get you out of here? God!

        Reply
  5. B Cayenne Bird

    At one time, hunger strikes were effective, but for the past 15 years, prison officials and guards celebrate every death of an inmate. We will live in a police state until we take out the politicians that the guards put into power, especially Jerry Brown. He took $1.8 million from them, the State supports the bureaucracy off the money from prisons. We have 1800 people pulled together, and will file the petition when there are 6500 workers and donors. In the meantime, everyone needs to realize that only the family members can save the prisoners. The family members have the power of the vote, the inmates will only suffer trying to fight this prison machine. Please support the campaign Liberals To Recall Jerry Brown and work on the referendums that are circulating right now. Each person can help to Amend Three Strikes, Abolish the Death Penalty, Regulate Marijuana like Wine – the passage of these three initiatives reduces the prison population right away. The corporations and law enforcement labor unions are the government. It's all about the money. You can't win reform by doing no work and spending no money, but it is achievable when thousands of people are active. Hunger strikes are deadly and ineffective. The FB page is Liberals to Recall Jerry Brown, http://www.facebook.com/LiberalsToRecallJerryBrow

    Reply
    1. BigHunk

      You are delusional if you believe you have a movement just because you have a looney Facebook page. You are one clueless idiot…

      Reply
  6. B Cayenne Bird

    Americans are not supposed to torture prisoners, regardless of their crime. By organizing, the citizens can hold those who do this accountable and take their bought-and-paid-for politicians out of power. There is no other way around this because our state runs on groups. Three million people related to a state prisoner far outnumbers 50,000 prison guards and there is no reason to let organizing apathy destroy our lives.

    Reply
    1. hahaha

      How are felons tortured in prison? They have a place to sleep, heating/cooling, 3 meals, free medical (health/dental/vision), access to education, job training, AA/NA classes, etc…. There is nothing like sitting in the ER for hours and see an inmate come in and go straight back. An ambulance for a broken finger? Only for an inmate. I have to wait for insurance approval, where inmates get everything without a second thought.

      I don't see how " Amend Three Strikes, Abolish the Death Penalty, Regulate Marijuana like Wine – the passage of these three initiatives reduces the prison population right away." Explain this to me

      Family and friends of victims far out number the those of the felons. A majority of the felons have multiple victims. Add in family members of felons that decided to disown them or they were victims themselves. Don't forget to subtract the family members of felons that were busted bringing in drugs or cell phones into visiting. Add in regular law abiding citizens that believe in pulling your own weight.

      Reply
  7. felipon

    Please do us a favor, and stay the hell away from our "at-risk" youth!! they don't need people like you to spit that type of b.s at them!!
    our neighborhoods don't need idiots like this to help them…for real!

    Reply
  8. the 56%

    Hooray one less murdering bastard on this planet, killed at no cost to the taxpayers. All human scum murderes should do this. Hate to sound harsh be people like him are only a leech on society and should be treated as such.

    Reply
    1. Jamie Gomez

      How about you do it instead? The world would be better of without you bitches, now doesn't that seem like a good idea!

      Reply
  9. Jamie Gomez

    I'm just gonna flat out tell you jerks who want to say more crap. HE WAS FRAMED. HE DIDN'T KILL ANYONE AND IF HE DID THE VICTIM WOULD BE MENTIONED.

    Reply
  10. Chase Hawley

    Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other favorite physical activities. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. :””

    Be well
    <http://www.healthfitnessbook.com

    Reply
  11. Hyperthyroidism

    This is indeed a magnificent arrange .It always slice informative plus beneficial declare. i indeed analogous its fabulous acquaint. its a massive learning enclose sharing such quality of attractive information. Thanks

    Reply

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