Army veteran Francisco Garcia, 22, was fatally shot around 2 a.m. Sunday while celebrating his homecoming from Afghanistan.
“The ironies are obvious,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. “To survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict, only to be killed in your old neighborhood upon your return.”
On Saturday, the party for Garcia began near his girlfriend’s home in Dronfield but later spilled over into Sunday morning at a nearby Astoria street, according to authorities, ABC News reported.
Around 2 a.m., the 22-year-old and his friends were standing on the sidewalk when two cars, a dark SUV and a white Honda or Toyota, pulled up across the street. At first, a Hispanic man in his 20’s got out from one of the cars and smashed a beer bottle on the ground, initiating an argument with Garcia from across the street.
Then, he walked over to the other car and retrieved a handgun from an occupant sitting inside before fatally shooting Garcia, police said, adding that the 22-year-old victim died at the scene.
“It appears Francisco was the target of the attack,” Lt. Vernon said. “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.”
Police suspect that the assailant and Garcia knew each other. “They knew each other in some kind of a fashion because there was a dispute going on,” said LAPD Det. Juan Santa. “I don’t know how well they knew each other.”
However detectives believe that the occupants inside the two cars had not attended the party earlier in the night, but had driven from a different location.
So far, police have not released any details on the dispute or the motive of the shooting.
Meanwhile, anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at (818) 838-9948(818) 838-9948(818) 838-9948(818) 838-9948 or Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.