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Deputy involved shooting leaves suspect in critical condition

FALLBROOK – A domestic violence suspect is in critical but stable condition after he was shot by sheriff's deputies in Fallbrook on July 7. The 47-year-old man was shot at the end of a nearly five-hour standoff, authorities said.

Deputies responded at 9:38 a.m. that day to a home at 2658 Huffstatler St. on a domestic disturbance call "involving a suicidal man with a gun,'' identified as Jose Armando Garcia, San Diego County sheriff's Lt. Dan Brislin said.

Garcia was accused of threatening to kill his wife and pointing a gun at his teenage daughter, Brislin said. When deputies arrived, he would not comply with their commands.

The sheriff's Crisis Negotiation Team and deputies tried to persuade Garcia to surrender over the course of nearly five hours, but Garcia refused, becoming more hostile as the hours passed, Brislin said.

Garcia emerged from his home at 2:30 p.m. with a handgun and opened fire on deputies, at which point deputies fired back and struck him, Brislin said.

Family members of Garcia, in phone calls and emails to the Village News, stated he never pointed the gun at deputies.

"I never saw the gun until he pointed it in the air," said Ignacio Garcia, older brother of Jose Armando Garcia. "He never pointed it at anyone. It was in the holster until he shot it in the air. And then the police shot him. The police did try to calm him down."

"Armando never pointed the gun at anyone but himself," said Maria Olivia Garcia, wife of Jose Armando Garcia. "For hours he was threatening to kill himself, but no one else."

Family members also said that it was Jose Armando Garcia's daughter that called police.

Garcia was taken to a hospital in critical condition, and could face weapons- and assault-related charges.

On July 12, Lt. Kenneth Nelson of the Sheriff's department homicide detail issued a media release with the names of the deputies involved in the shooting. They are deputy Vanessa Rocha and deputy Giovani Pantoja.

Deputy Rocha is assigned to the Fallbrook Sheriff's patrol substation and has been employed as a deputy sheriff with the San Diego Sheriff's department for eight years. Deputy Pantoja is assigned to the Vista Sheriff's patrol station and has been employed as a deputy sheriff with the San Diego Sheriff's department for four years.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call authorities at (858) 974-2321, or (858) 565-5200 for after hours; or anonymously via Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.


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