Palm Beach County authorities reported that one man is dead and another man is facing a first-degree murder charge. 26-year-old Luis Garcia has been charged with first-degree murder after firing the shot that killed another man who has yet to be identified by PBSO. The man’s name has been withheld in accord with Marsy’s Law which allows the victims of violent crimes to keep their names out of the press.
According to the police report, PBSO entered the scene to find Garcia shooting at spectators. After ordering him to drop his weapon, PBSO fired on Garcia. According to PBSO, no one was injured in the gunfire, even Garcia.
Parking lot fight
According to authorities, the incident began as a parking lot fight. Garcia is alleged to have pulled a weapon and began shooting at the victim. Deputies who were providing security for the event saw a crowd gather around two individuals when someone yelled that the man had a gun. Witnesses say that Garcia fired into the crowd, striking two men, one of whom died of a wound to his torso.
Deputies say that Garcia was still shooting when they tried to render aid to the injured men. They also say Garcia returned fire after they demanded that he drop his weapon.
Garcia is charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, and discharging his weapon in a public place. If convicted, he could get the death penalty, but chances are good this defendant will never see the outside of a jail cell again.
Authorities will look at the defendant’s utter indifference to the lives and safety of others whom he imperiled by firing into a crowd. They will also look at the fact that Garcia returned a request to drop his weapon with bullets aimed at peace officers. It remains unclear what set the altercation off. It is also unclear at what point Garcia surrendered his weapon. The deputy who fired back at Garcia is not being named because he works undercover.
First-degree murder and attempted murder
In Florida, the crime of attempted first-degree murder is charged the same as a successfully completed first-degree murder. Essentially, this defendant is facing two counts of first-degree murder even though only one of the individuals died. An attorney representing the defendant will likely argue that Garcia panicked when confronted with the crowd or an individual who was challenging him to a fight and shot sporadically. This could get the charges reduced to reckless homicide or manslaughter, but Florida’s felony murder rule would then be employed to make the same case.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing criminal charges, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to schedule an appointment and discuss how to move forward and resolve the accusations of the state.