'Are You Ready for This?' Army Vet Brutally Gunned Down on L.A. Streets
Police in Los Angeles are searching for the man who shot and killed a young U.S. Army veteran who recently returned from Afghanistan.
Francisco Garcia was gunned down early Sunday morning after leaving a party north of Los Angeles. Authorities say he was standing around with friends when a black SUV approached and a man jumped out, smashing a beer bottle, opening fire, then driving off.
Garcia was dead on arrival, authorities say. No one else was hurt in the attack.
Just before the shooting, Garcia was standing with friends, some of whom are reportedly members of a tagging group. Earlier in the day, they had been threatened by a rival tagging group. Police don’t know if Garcia had a connection to the taggers, but authorities say his friends are not cooperating.
Witnesses say the shooter yelled “Are you ready for this” before opening fire with a semi-automatic handgun.
Garcia was honorably discharged from the Army this summer due to an unknown injury. He had just gotten engaged and wanted to start a family. Garcia’s application to the California Highway Patrol had reportedly just been accepted – a lifelong dream of his.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.
UPDATE: The military has since announced that Garcia did not serve in Afghanistan.
Julie Halpin, a spokeswoman for Fort Drum in New York, told the Los Angeles Times that Garcia worked as a cannon crew member at the fort.
Halpin told the paper that Garcia enlisted in June 2012 and was discharged in July.
The LAPD had originally stated that Garcia recently returned from Afghanistan. It's unclear how they received that information.
An 18-year-old man has been arrested and charged with Garcia's murder.