Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF SHOOTING AND ATTEMPTING TO MURDER FATHER OF FIVE WHILE TAGGING GANG GRAFFITI IN VICTIM’S NEIGHBORHOOD
*Defendant was linked to the crime through DNA on discarded graffiti spray can
SANTA ANA – A Garden Grove criminal street gang member linked through DNA on a graffiti spray can was convicted yesterday of shooting and attempting to murder a father of five, rendering him permanently mentally and physically disabled. Ivan Garcia, 26, Garden Grove, was found guilty yesterday, Feb. 25, 2010, of one felony count each of attempted murder and street terrorism with sentencing enhancements and allegations for attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, criminal street gang activity, and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on April 2, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-38, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on April 27, 2008, 45-year-old David Puga and his wife returned to their Garden Grove home after grocery shopping. The house is located in a cul-de-sac in a residential neighborhood. Defendant Garcia and a fellow gang member were standing near the entrance to the cul-de-sac tagging a block wall by crossing out the graffiti of a rival gang and covering it with graffiti denoting their own criminal street gang.
Puga, a father of five, went back outside to move his car from the street into his driveway. When the victim got to his car, which was parked near the wall where Garcia and his accomplice were tagging, the defendant pulled out a gun and shot Puga three times. Garcia struck the victim in the neck, arm, and foot, and continued to shoot at Puga as the victim attempted to escape by crawling toward his home.
Puga’s wife called 9-1-1 after hearing the gunshots and finding her husband collapsed on the front doorstep of their home, bleeding. As a result of the injuries and gunshot wound to his neck caused by Garcia, Puga had to have a large portion of his brain removed. He suffers from a permanent loss of physical control and is confined to a wheelchair. Puga also suffers from memory loss and substantially lacks basic motor and verbal functions.
Garcia and his fellow gang member fled the scene. As they fled, witnesses observed the defendant throw the graffiti spray can into a dumpster near a convenience store. Responding officers investigating the shooting recovered the spray can and submitted it for DNA testing. On Aug. 4, 2008, DNA from the graffiti spray can was matched to Garcia, who had a prior conviction from that same year for being an accessory after the fact to a gang murder.
The second gang member in this case has not been identified.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos of the TARGET Unit is prosecuting this case.