A young Army veteran who had recently returned from Afghanistan was shot and killed while at a party—two days before Veterans Day. Though the Los Angeles Police Department initially reported that Francisco Garcia, 21, had returned to his Los Angeles home two weeks earlier and on Saturday attended a party thrown in his honor by his girlfriend, the story has since shifted. CBS LA reports there's no indication it was a homecoming party, and spoke with family members who say Garcia had been back in the US as long as four months. But what is clear is that as Garcia stood on the sidewalk in Sylmar around 2am yesterday, a man stepped out of an SUV, yelled at Garcia, and shot him with a handgun he retrieved from someone in a second vehicle, reports KTLA. Garcia died at the scene.
"The ironies are obvious—to survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict only to be killed in your old neighborhood upon your return," LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon says. He adds that "it appears Francisco was the target of the attack. Apparently, a simmering dispute had boiled over during the night, and this suspect came looking for Francisco," though police don't think the occupants of the two cars had been at the party. "Figuring out the dispute should lead us to the shooter," Vernon says. Garcia wrote on Facebook last week that he'd just been accepted into the California Highway Patrol Academy. (This decorated Army veteran wasn't allowed to hang his jacket in a first-class closet on a US Airways flight.)