Man injured in Hwy 180 fatal shooting was hours out of jail following murder acquittal, attorney says

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Man injured in Hwy 180 fatal shooting was hours out of jail following murder acquittal, attorney says

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The man who was injured in a shooting on Highway 180 Tuesday evening was released from Fresno County Jail only hours earlier – following his acquittal from a first-degree murder charge, according to information provided by his attorney and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.

Michael Garcia was taken from the scene to the hospital following the highway shooting. His attorney, Eric Castellon, says he was beyond heartbroken to hear 21-year-old Ernestine Thomas, the driver of the vehicle, was killed in the incident.

“She had been there the entire trial, she’d been there for Mr. Garcia. She was very excited to have her life begin with Mr. Garcia,” said Castellon.

Garcia was accused of first-degree murder following an incident in 2019. The not-guilty verdict was reached around 3 p.m. Tuesday and jail records show Garcia was released from Fresno County Jail at 9:43 p.m. Tuesday. CHP says the shooting took place around 10:30 p.m. along westbound Highway 180, east of Highway 99.

“It’s clear they were waiting for him,” said Castellon. “From what I’ve been informed, it was very clear they were waiting for him outside the jail.”

The investigation into the fatal shooting is ongoing. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Fresno Area CHP Office at 559-262-0400.

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