Man Acquitted of Murder Shot Hours After Release from Jail

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 28: Crime scene tape secures a shooting scene where 5 people were reported to have been shot, including an 11-month-old infant, on September 28, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, like many major cities in the United States, has experienced a surge in shootings this year. (Photo …
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Hours after a man acquitted of murder was released from a California jail, a suspect opened fire at the car he was riding in on Tuesday, wounding him and killing his girlfriend, the driver of the vehicle.

The shooting took place Tuesday evening along Highway 180 after Michael Garcia was released from the Fresno County Jail, KGPE reported.

Garcia was transported from the scene to the hospital. His attorney, Eric Castellon, said he was saddened to hear that Garcia’s girlfriend, Ernestine Thomas, 21, was killed in the drive-by shooting.

“She had been there the entire trial, she’d been there for Mr. Garcia. She was very excited to have her life begin with Mr. Garcia,” said Castellon.

Authorities accused Garcia of first-degree murder in 2019. The not guilty verdict was reached in court around 3 p.m. Tuesday and jail records show Garcia was released from the Fresno County Jail at 9:43 p.m. that same day.

California Highway Patrol said the shooting took place around 10:30 p.m. on Highway 180, going westbound.

“It’s clear they were waiting for him,” said Castellon. “From what I’ve been informed, it was very clear they were waiting for him outside the jail.”

Authorities opened an investigation into the fatal shooting, which is ongoing.

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