Phoenix police release new video of officers fatally shooting James Garcia

Jul 20, 2020, 10:45 AM | Updated: Jul 21, 2020, 1:59 pm
james garcia...
(Phoenix Police Department Screenshot)
(Phoenix Police Department Screenshot)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Police Department released new video Monday showing a high-profile fatal shooting by officers on July 4.

The body camera footage (WARNING: graphic content) released as part of a critical incident briefing shows James Garcia appearing to say “shoot me” from inside a car seconds before officers fired.

Officers investigating a reported stabbing incident near 56th and Glenrosa avenues tried convincing Garcia, 28, to leave the car for more than 10 minutes before they saw him pick up a gun, police said.

Police confirmed to KTAR News 92.3 FM that Garcia was the not the suspect involved in the assault that led to police confronting him in the driveway of a house.

The video shows an officer yelling multiple times that he’ll shoot if Garcia lifts the gun. Garcia appears to respond by yelling “shoot me” with his face close to the window, although his voice can’t be heard through the glass in that part of the video.

An officer on Garcia’s side of the car tells an officer on the other side to “take the window out.” That officer breaks the passenger-side window with two swings of a club, and the two officers on the driver’s side opened fire immediately after.

Police said two officers from the Maryvale/Estrella Mountain Precinct fired: 29-year-old Noel Trevino and 31-year-old Gregory Wilson.

The gun police say Garcia was holding in his right hand during the standoff was not visible in any footage until it was removed from the car after the shooting.

The video showing the gun being taken out of the car was from the body camera of an officer arriving right after the shooting and had been previously released by police.

The footage released Monday was originally set to be released last week but was delayed until after Garcia’s funeral Friday at the request of his family, police said.

In the new critical incident report, police said Garcia twice gave officers a false name, and detectives had to use fingerprints to identify him.

Police said investigators also found out later there’d been a warrant issued for Garcia for violating probation on an unspecified felony, and he wasn’t legally permitted to possess a firearm.

According to online court records, a 28-year-old named James Porter Garcia, the same full name and age as the deceased man, had his probation revoked in March. The probation arrangement was part of 2018 guilty plea to a charge of solicitation to commit organized retail theft, a class 6 felony. The plea deal included a $561 restitution payment to Saks Fifth Avenue.

During the initial standoff, before he rolled up his window, Garcia can be heard in the newly released video telling an officer he has a misdemeanor warrant.

The officer tells Garcia he doesn’t care about the warrant and that police need him to get out of the car so they can secure the crime scene.

“Because there’s a stabbing at the house, we need to get everybody out of here because if this turns into some kind of shooting, we don’t need you sitting here getting shot while we’re shooting and then blaming us,” an officer can be heard saying.

Garcia responds: “I feel safe in here.”

Monday’s incident report includes 911 audio from a caller who said he’d been stabbed the previous week by a man who’d returned and was threatening him again.

The caller described the suspect as a 28-year-old Hispanic man named Eric.

He then told officers who responded to the scene that the suspect was accompanied by a man with a gun.

However, police said they followed up with the caller and determined that Garcia wasn’t involved in the incident he’d reported.

The case remains under investigation, police said. Findings will be turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review.

The police department will also make a determination after the investigation is complete about whether officers followed policy.

Chief Jeri Williams previously said she’d asked the FBI to conduct an independent civil rights review of the case.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore contributed to this report.

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Phoenix police release new video of officers fatally shooting James Garcia