An illegal alien who re-entered the United States after being deported died following a criminal rampage that included shooting at his ex-girlfriend and injuring four people while recklessly driving a vehicle.
Gustavo Garcia, 36, spent 24 hours conducting a “reign of terror,” police officials said, showing a blatant disregard for human life.
He robbed a store, killed a stranger, shot at his ex-girlfriend, stole a truck, engaged in a gun battle with police, and drove the wrong way down streets and crashed into vehicles, leaving four people injured, one critically, before he was flung from a stolen truck in a collision and died on Dec. 17.
The spree started on Sunday when Garcia shot a farm worker in Exeter while the worker was on a ladder picking fruit.
Three minutes later, he committed an armed robbery, taking thousands in cash from a small business. Several hours later, he shot at a woman who was in her car in the parking lot of a Motel 6 in Tulare.
The spree also included homicide and an assault with a deadly weapon early Monday morning. The victim was identified as Rocky Paul Jones, 51, who police believe did not know Garcia before he was shot dead.
Shortly after, Garcia went to the house of his ex-girlfriend in Visalia and fired several gunshots while threatening her.
Around 5 a.m., police officers stopped Garcia after recognizing his vehicle but he fled into an orchard, held three farm workers at gunpoint, stole their truck, and drove quickly away, triggering a high-speed chase that at one point reached speeds around 100 mph.
Garcia was ejected from the truck and died.
This is the area near Exeter where @TulareSheriff says Gustavo Garcia shot a farmworker in the chest before robbing a gas station on Sunday. Farmworker is expected to survive. @ABC30 pic.twitter.com/ZtV99Ac8Ey
— Brian Johnson (@BrianABC30) December 17, 2018
“These were not chosen targets, which makes it more dangerous,” Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said at a Monday afternoon press conference, reported the Fresno Bee. “This person was targeting anyone that got in the way. He equally was not deterred by the acts of law enforcement. He was a violent person.”
Up to 12 crimes involving Garcia are being investigated.
Garcia has a long criminal history, including multiple assaults with a deadly weapon, and was deported in 2014, officials said, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.
“(Garcia) lost his life in a traffic accident and can’t see the ability of bringing him to justice, but we can say his reign of terror in Tulare County is stopped,” said Boudreaux.
Victim’s Family Speaks Out
Family members of Jones, who was believed to be murdered by Garcia, reacted to the death.
“He loved everybody with his own being, and he always made sure everyone knew that,” Jones niece Kenedi Baxter-Jones told KFSN. She added on a GoFundMe page that “Rocky Jones was a very giving, loving, and unselfish man. He was a dad, son, grandpa, uncle, cousin, and friend to many.”
She said the family was upset that Garcia was deported but came back into the country, which is a felony crime.
“The fact that he came back and my uncle is dead now is what angers us the most,” said Kenedi.
She said the effort by law enforcement was not good enough.
“The day before he robs a store, he shoots a guy in Exeter,” said Kenedi. “It shouldn’t have taken my uncle to be murdered at 2:30 a.m. for them to do anything.”