Francisco Garcia, 22, an Army serviceman who was discharged from Afghanistan two weeks ago, was fatally shot early Sunday morning in the middle of a party celebrating his homecoming, according to LAPD Detective Juan Santa and CBS Los Angeles. The Sylmar Police Department reported that Garcia’s girlfriend had hosted a party for him at her home, and then, at 2:00 a.m. the party moved to a different location down the street.
Apparently Garcia was simply standing on the sidewalk when a dark SUV and a white car that was either a Toyota or a Honda parked nearby at Sylmar High School, according to CBS Los Angeles. Police reports reportedly say that a Latino man exited the SUV, smashed a beer bottle, and started yelling at Garcia. The Latino man crossed to the white car, took out a handgun and shot Garcia, who died at the scene.
Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division, was quoted by CBS Los Angeles, “It appears Francisco was the target of the attack. Apparently, a simmering dispute had boiled over during the night, and this suspect came looking for Francisco. Figuring out the dispute should lead us to the shooter.”
Later Sunday morning friends of Garcia met at the crime scene. Interviewed by Joy Benedict of KCAL9, they said that Garcia was on the verge of a lifelong dream when he was murdered; he had just been accepted into the California Highway Patrol Academy.
Detectives reportedly think that the suspects and Garcia knew each other before the night of the murder.
Image: Facebook via KTLA