Calif. man acquitted of gang killing shot minutes after being freed

Noble Horvath

Updated 9:14 am PDT, Thursday, September 24, 2020 A man acquitted of a gang slaying was killed minutes after being freed in Fresno County. A man acquitted of a gang slaying was killed minutes after being freed in Fresno County. Photo: Avid_creative, Getty Images Photo: Avid_creative, Getty Images A man acquitted […]


FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A Fresno man who was acquitted of a deadly shooting was wounded and his girlfriend killed minutes after he walked out of jail, his attorney said Wednesday.

Michael Garcia, 21, was shot four times and remained hospitalized.

“They were waiting at the jail for him,” his attorney, Eric Castellon told the Fresno Bee.

Garcia was attacked about 10 p.m. Tuesday while in a car on State Route 180 in Fresno. His girlfriend died. The Fresno County coroner’s office identified her Wednesday as Ernestine Thomas, 21, of Fresno.

“They were planning on leaving so they could get away from all this madness” Castellon said of the couple. “It’s a gang hit, that’s for sure.”

Garcia’s family had received apparent threats on social media, Castellon told the Bee.

No arrests were immediately made.

Garcia was acquitted of charges that that he shot and killed Gregory Garza, 23, last year in northwest Fresno. Police had said the shooting stemmed from a dispute over gang ties.

Castellon said his client didn’t have any gang ties and wasn’t the killer.

“He wasn’t the shooter. Witness identifications didn’t match up. Ballistics didn’t match up,” Castellon said.

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