PHOENIX, AZ (The Arizona Republic) – An undocumented immigrant suspected of chasing down and fatally shooting another man on Friday in Phoenix served more than 6 years in an Arizona prison after being convicted of aggravated assault in 2011.
Witnesses told police they saw 26-year-old Victor Garcia pursue a man, later identified as 34-year-old Jesus Valazquez, through a parking lot at 6710 W. Indian School Road around 3:16 p.m.
Court documents say Garcia was armed with a handgun and fired several shots at Valazquez, who fell to the ground shortly after being struck. Multiple witnesses saw Garcia approach Valazquez and shoot him 3 to 4 times in the face while he was still on the ground, documents state.
Records say witnesses saw Garcia enter the passenger side of a nearby pick-up truck which left the area shortly after.
Records from the Arizona Department of Corrections show Garcia served more than 6 years of a 7.5-year prison sentence after being convicted of aggravated assault in 2011. He was released from prison in June 2017, records show.
Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed that Garcia had been previously deported but refused to offer additional details about his deportation — including the date he was deported.
“On June 8, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged a detainer with the Maricopa County Jail on Victor Garcia-Roman, a previously deported alien from Mexico, following his arrest on local charges, including first-degree murder,” O’Keefe said in a written statement.
A police officer stopped the truck that picked Garcia up about 20 minutes after the shooting and learned the driver was a relative of Garcia’s.
The driver, who was not identified in court documents, told police that Garcia had called before the shooting and asked for a ride.
After arriving, Garcia’s relative told police he saw Garcia shoot Valazquez before entering the front passenger seat of his truck, according to arrest documents. The relative told police that the two drove south on 67th Avenue and then west on Indian School Road before Garcia asked to be dropped off at a nearby neighborhood.
The relative told police that Garcia didn’t explain what led to the shooting and only warned him not to talk about it with anyone, according to arrest records. The relative identified Garcia as the shooter after police showed him a previous mugshot.
Police arrested Garcia at his Tolleson home Saturday morning and booked him into a Maricopa County jail on one count of first-degree murder and one count of possessing a prohibited weapon. He has a cash-only bond of $1 million.