Second man charged in connection with shooting death of Army veteran

Francisco Garcia. Photo credit: screenshot from KTLA video below

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced this week that a second man has been charged in connection with the shooting death of Army veteran Francisco Garcia.  The fatal incident took place in Sylmar, a moderately diverse neighborhood in the San Fernando area of Los Angeles.

KTLA5 reported that Jerry Raymond Carmona has been arrested and faces one count each of murder and attempted murder in Garcia’s death.  The 26-year-old is an alleged gang member, according to the D.A.’s office.

Almost immediately after the incident, Vincent Anthony Estrada, 18, was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder.   He pleaded not guilty this week to one count each of murder, attempted murder and discharge of firearm with gross negligence.

On November 5, Garcia was attending a party at a Sylmar home.  He, his girlfriend and other individuals were standing outside when a Hispanic man exited a dark SUV.  He proceeded to smash a beer bottle on the ground, yelling at Garcia.  He then retrieved a handgun from a white car parked behind the SUV.

The man shot the 21-year-old Army veteran multiple times.  Garcia died at the scene.

A spokeswoman for Fort Drum in New York stated Garcia was discharged from the Army in July.  According to Julie Halpin, he enlisted in June 2012 and worked as a cannon crew member at Fort Drum until his separation.

At the time of the incident, police officials were investigating if he had died as a result of a dispute among differing groups.  It was unsure if Garcia was part of a “tagger crew.”

“It appears Francisco Garcia was the target of the attack,” said authorities the evening of the occurrence.  “Apparently, a simmering dispute had boiled over during the night, and this suspect came looking for him.  Figuring out the dispute should lead us to the shooter.”

Investigators determined that Estrada and Carmona did not attend the party.

“It is horrible,” said Mariana Rodriguez, a family friend.  “It is just heartbreaking.”

In memory of the veteran, family and friends have set up candles, flowers and a U.S. flag in front of the house where the incident occurred.

Estrada and Carmona are due back in court on December 18 to set the date for their preliminary hearing.  Bail for both has been set at over $2 million.  If convicted of the charges, they will face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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