Suspect in custody, charged in Jan. 3 murder at Hotel Ava

Suspect in custody, charged in Jan. 3 murder at Hotel Ava
25-year-old Gilbert Cardona III arrested for the murder of 37-year-old Joshua Gomez on Jan. 3. (Source: Lubbock Police)

(LUBBOCK, TX) – The Metropolitan Special Crimes Unit obtained a warrant for 25-year-old Gilbert Cardona III for the murder of 37-year-old Joshua Gomez on January 3.

The warrant released by Lubbock Police Friday afternoon says LPD got a call to the Hotel Ava in the 3200 block of South Loop 289 at around 7:43 a.m. on January 3 and when they arrived, officers found Joshua Gomez on the floor in the lobby area near the entrance to the hotel.

Gomez was alive when officers arrived and told Police he was shot by the passenger of a black BMW. Gomez also described the driver of the vehicle.

Gomez was transported to UMC by EMS where he died less than two hours later.

A bullet casing was recovered at the scene near a white Ford Explorer that Police say Gomez had been driving. Witnesses who heard the shots were interviewed and they described two Hispanic men getting into a black vehicle as the only individuals outside at the time of the shooting.

Investigators with the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office identified the driver of the BMW who told them he was at the hotel with “GiGi” Gilbert Caldona III.

The driver confirmed to investigators Cardona did the shooting in a sworn statement to detectives.

On January 5, a witness came to Police saying Cardona admitted to a shooting but claimed it was in self-defense. According to the warrant, a recorded conversation from the witness had Cardona’s voice. The conversation described the White Explorer, and said one person had a “military style rifle.” Soon, another source told detectives that Cardona admitted to killing a man at the Hotel Ava.

On January 8, Cardona was arrested. He gave detectives descriptions of the incident that conflicted with witness statements, as well as his own recorded admissions.

Cardona admitted to being with the driver in a black BMW at Hotel Ava, as well as carrying a Ruger semi-automatic pistol.

The warrant states Cardona told police he saw Gomez cocking a pistol in his waistband, and heard another person in the Ford Explorer yell: “Matalos a los dos,” which translates to “kill them both.”

Cardona told police he fired his weapon three times, striking Gomez in the torso once. Cardona is a convicted felon and legally cannot possess a firearm.

In a conversation with witnesses, Cardona said the person he shot had a rifle, but then told police he had a pistol.

Police matched the bullet casing found on scene to the pistol Cardona admitted to carrying. No firearm was found at the scene, in the Explorer, or on the victim’s person.

Cardona was previously booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center on unrelated charges. He remains at the center with an additional $200,000 bond.

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