Army veteran shot in California after return from Afghanistan

Francisco Garcia, 21, returned safely from a tour with the Army in Afghanistan only to be gunned down in his own neighborhood.
By Gabrielle Levy  |  Nov. 10, 2014 at 10:18 AM
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LOS ANGELES, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- A 21-year-old Army veteran was killed in his Los Angeles neighborhood Sunday after a confrontation on the street outside his girlfriend's home.

Francisco Garcia, who returned from a tour in Afghanistan this summer, was partying with friends at his girlfriend's home in Sylmar on Saturday night.

Around 2 a.m. Sunday morning, Garcia and his friends decided to move the party elsewhere, and were outside when a dark SUV and a white sedan pulled up. Police said a man got out of the SUV and confronted Garcia, smashing a beer bottle and then retrieving a gun from someone inside the white car.

Police say the man fired several times, hitting Garcia, who died at the scene. No other injuries were reported.

"They knew each other in some kind of a fashion because there was a dispute going on," said LAPD Detective Juan Santa. "I don't know how well they knew each other."

Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division, said Garcia appeared to have been targeted.

"Apparently, a simmering dispute had boiled over during the night, and this suspect came looking for Francisco," Vernon said, adding that police do not believe the shooter and his friends were at the party at Garcia's girlfriend's home. "Figuring out the dispute should lead us to the shooter."

"The ironies are obvious,'' Vernon said. "To survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict, only to be killed in your neighborhood upon your return."

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