Even as they mourn, the family of a San Diego man who was gunned down after an altercation in the Gaslamp Quarter earlier this month is speaking out against gun violence.
Johnny Garcia, 25, was with two of his cousins at around 2 a.m. on July 19 when a fight involving several men broke out near the intersection of 5th and Island avenues.
“It was an altercation at the bar,” said Ana Hernandez, a cousin who was not involved. “The suspect ended up pulling a gun. He shot three to four bullets. One of them went through Johnny’s neck.”
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Garcia died from his injuries. A suspect, Lord Gabriel, got away in a four-door sedan.
Less than a day after the shooting, police in Tucson, Arizona, arrested Lord, also a 25-year old. The resident of Pittsburg, California, is now in a Pima County Jail cell, awaiting transport back to San Diego to be formally charged in Garcia’s death.
Family members told NBC 7 that Garcia was a peacekeeper, not a troublemaker. He was an up-and-coming artist and the father of a 5-year-old girl.
“The family is distraught right now,” said Daniel Huerta, who is Johnny’s uncle. “Nobody expects a 25-year-old to pass away at any time.”
Huerta praised a veteran named Austin Arroyo who he said rendered first aid to Garcia before paramedics arrived.
Garcia’s family said the gun violence that took Garcia’s life also impacted the suspect’s family.
“Both lost loved ones,” Huerta said.
Hernandez said she hopes people who see what happened in this case will think twice before taking a life.
“Because it not only affects that person, but it affects everybody around them, the whole family," Hernandez said. "I’m sure the suspect didn’t know he had a daughter that was counting on him.”
Garcia’s family has been raising money to pay for the young man’s funeral.