Gaslamp Quarter

Families Gather for Deadly San Diego Gaslamp Shooting Hearing

25-year-old Jose “Johnny” Garcia was killed in the July 19, 2021 attack

Cell phone and surveillance videos took center stage at the preliminary hearing Tuesday for Lord Gabriel. Gabriel is accused of pulling a gun and killing a man during an altercation involving several men and a woman in the Gaslamp Quarter last summer.

25-year-old Jose “Johnny” Garcia was killed in the July 19, 2021 attack. Family members filled the courtroom, wearing T-shirts featuring Garcia’s image and some of his artwork.

San Diego Police Homicide Detective Kelly Thibault-Hamill was the first to take the stand, describing the scene when she and other detectives arrived, around 4 a.m.

Officers quickly discovered several sources for surveillance video that showed the incident, and also acquired cell phone video from bystanders.

The video shows Lord Gabriel and a friend as they come and go from the area where Gabriel’s white Toyota was parked in a handicapped parking space on Island Street near Fifth Avenue. The videos also show Garcia and two friends as they appear to confront the two men and a female companion.

San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy questioned Thibault-Hamill about the videos, which show Garcia punching one of the men and Gabriel allegedly pulling a gun out of the cross-body bag he was wearing.

“Can you tell us what that is in his hand?” asked Reedy.

The detective replied, “The shape of the image is consistent with somebody holding a handgun.”

Moments later, Garcia is seen clutching his neck after at least one gunshot rang out. Garcia later died of his injuries.

Gabriel’s Public Defender, Jessica Marshall Petry, cross-examined the detective while sharing a different version of what’s seen on the video. She appeared to be trying to show Gabriel acted in self-defense after Garcia rounded up friends and confronted him in the street. She pointed out that Garcia punched one of Gabriel’s friends.

“Did you see Mr. Garcia strike Mr. Groves?” asked Marshall Petry. 

“Yes,” replied the detective. 

“And Mr. Groves fell down, right?” said the prosecutor. 

The detective responded, “Yes.”  Marshall Petry then pointed out that Groves was looking away when he was punched.

Other testimony came from a Gaslamp Quarter bouncer who became emotional when describing Garcia as he began to bleed out from his injury.

Testimony will continue Wednesday, after which Superior Court Judge Polly Shamoon will decide if there’s enough evidence to hold Gabriel over for trial.

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