A Visalia man goes on a violent rampage thru Tulare county. Gustavo Garcia is accused of shooting and killing one man, and firing multiple rounds at innocent people and officers – all in less than 24 hours. On Monday, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said Gustavo eventually led them on a high speed chase near Porterville, where he crashed and died.
The Sheriff’s Office said Garcia, who was 36-years old, may have been going through the end of a relationship and that’s what allegedly drove him to commit all these crimes. They said an autopsy report will determine if drugs or alcohol played a role.
Surveillance video from an ampm on Lover’s Lane in Visalia shows Garcia verbally arguing with a stranger around 2:30am on Monday.
Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar said, “There was some sort of a potential exchange of words, at which time the suspect opened fire on the victim, eventually killing him.”
Salazar said Garcia didn’t know the innocent victim, who has been identified as 51-year old Rocky Paul Jones.
Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Garcia proceeded to shoot at his ex-girlfriend’s home in Visalia. He said there were children home, but no one was injured. Then, Garcia he led officers on a high speed chase southeast of town.
“Garcia ran off into a nearby orchard where he continued firing shots at deputies, and he fled and carjacked an additional vehicle in the grove,” said Boudreaux.
Boudreaux said Garcia took that stolen vehicle and drove it at high speeds towards Porterville. The California Highway Patrol said he drove southbound on the northbound lanes of Highway 65, crashed into a car, and died. At least five cars were involved in the collision.
The Sheriff commented, “We have officers who could have been seriously injured or killed, we also have the citizens of Tulare county who were put in harms way.”
TCSO said Garcia’s violent acts started on Sunday. He’s accused of shooting a farmworker in Exeter, and then holding up a mini mart, where they said Gustavo ran off with $2,000.
Garcia’s immigration status was unknown, however Boudreaux said he was deported in 2014.