SYLMAR, Calif. – Police in California are reportedly searching for a gunman Sunday after a U.S. Army veteran was shot and killed at a homecoming party that was being thrown for him at his girlfriend’s home.
FOX 13 News sister station KTLA 5 in Los Angeles reports Francisco Garcia had returned home from Afghanistan about two weeks ago and had recently stated he’d been accepted to join the California Highway Patrol Academy. Police and other sources have said the man is 22, while a coroner’s report states he is 21.
Garcia is pictured in the Facebook post below.
KTLA reports the incident occurred around 2 a.m. Sunday as partygoers were outside. Garcia was on the sidewalk when the suspect, a Hispanic man, exited a dark-colored SUV. The man smashed a beer bottle on the ground and yelled at Garcia before retrieving a handgun from a car behind the SUV. Police believe Garcia was targeted.
“It appears Francisco was the target of the attack,” Lt. Paul Vernon of the Los Angeles Police Department told KTLA 5. “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.”
The man who fired the shots and the occupants of the SUV and second car were not believed to have attended the party.
“The ironies are obvious,” Veron told KTLA 5. “To survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict, only to be killed in your old neighborhood upon your return.”
See the video above for a live report, and click here for much more on this story from KTLA 5 in Los Angeles.
Garcia’s Facebook profile included other pictures, including the one below.