A felon who fired a handgun inside a Desert Hot Springs home occupied by children, then held law enforcement officers at bay for several hours, was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in state prison.

Juan Gonzalez Jr., 48, of Desert Hot Springs pleaded guilty to one count each of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and assault with a semi-automatic firearm.

A half-dozen additional felony charges, including three counts of willful child cruelty, were dismissed as part of his plea deal

The defendant, who was sentenced by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Burke Strunsky at the Larson Justice Center in Indio, was arrested on March 12, 2019, in the 67600 block of San Gorgonio Street.

According to Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Mike Vasquez, deputies were sent to back up Desert Hot Springs police around 1:45 a.m. that morning after witnesses reported a man was inside shooting a weapon “while family members, including children, were present.”

Law enforcement personnel surrounded the residence and confirmed six people were inside the house, according to Vasquez.

Around 5 a.m., members of the sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau “conducted a rescue of a family member within the residence” and took Gonzalez into custody, he said.

At least one deputy fired a weapon at some point during the standoff, but nobody was hurt.

Gonzalez has a previous felony conviction in Riverside County for assault with a deadly weapon.

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