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Detectives identify shooting suspect

Sheriff’s Department seek man accused in car-to-car incident Sunday

Posted: April 10, 2009 1:37 a.m.
Updated: April 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Sheriff's detectives believe Michael Ray Garcia, 25, was the shooter early Sunday morning who fired on a car driven by a local man.

 
The hunt is on for a Valencia man suspected of firing the shots in a car-to-car shooting that left two people wounded Sunday in Canyon Country.

Sheriff's detectives believe Michael Ray Garcia, 25, was the driver and shooter who early Sunday morning fired on a car driven by a local man near the corner of Camp Plenty Road and Cedarcreek Street. Two passengers were injured and taken to the hospital.

Garcia is on felony parole for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, according to a Thursday news release from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. He is also a suspected gang member.

"We believe that (Garcia) is our shooter," sheriff's Sgt. Darren Harris said. "He's obviously a dangerous individual (and) we want him off our streets."

His only known address is in the 23400 block of Via Gayo, and he is known to frequent the Valencia and Newhall areas, according to the report. Via Gayo is in a residential tract bordered by Orchard Village Road, Dalbey Drive and 16th Street.

Garcia is described as Hispanic, standing about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing about 190 pounds.

Detectives apparently missed Garcia by just moments Wednesday morning when they served a search warrant at his home, the report read.

The detectives reportedly found a 9mm handgun, eight rifles and a second handgun at the home, as well as a white 1994 Infiniti believed to be used in Sunday's shooting.

Wednesday morning's search overlapped with a countywide gang sweep headed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Harris said.

A task force arrested 26 alleged members of the Lancas 13 street gang in the Lancaster and Santa Clarita areas Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. Authorities say the gang was formed in the 1980s, has about 150 members and was associated with the Mexican Mafia.

While local detectives had identified Garcia as a suspect and secured a search warrant, the county task force also had a warrant for Garcia, an alleged member of Lancas 13, Harris said.

Because Garcia already has a parole-related warrant and is also wanted for questioning regarding Sunday's shooting, Harris said detectives are not seeking an additional arrest warrant at this time.

Detectives believe there were two other people in the car with Garcia at the time of the shooting.

Sunday's incident began after Daniel - whose last name is being withheld - and his girlfriend picked up two friends from a Canyon Country apartment at 3 a.m. The group was headed to the home of one of the victims when they stopped at the intersection of Cedarcreek Street and Camp Plenty Road in Canyon Country. That's where they saw what Daniel described as a white Infiniti on Camp Plenty Road begin to make a U-turn and then switch course.

Daniel said a chase ensued before the Infiniti pulled alongside his car and someone in that car fired several shots. One of Daniel's passengers was reportedly hit in the back and another was reportedly hit in the head by a bullet fragment.

Harris said it is unclear if any of passengers in the fired-upon vehicle have any gang affiliation, and the shooting did not appear to be gang-related.

The Signal incorrectly reported this morning that four arrest warrants had been issued in connection with the shooting.

Anyone with information about Garcia's whereabouts or Sunday's shooting can call Detective Pat O'Neill at (661) 799-5154, Detective Dan Finn at (661) 799-5153 or report tips anonymously by calling (661) 284-2-TIP.

"You're not just going to do a shooting like this and get away with it if we have anything to say about it," Harris said Thursday.

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