COLTON, Calif. (KABC) --There were small signs of progress Saturday for a San Bernardino police officer who was critically injured in a shootout.
Gabe Garcia, 31, remains hospitalized in a medically induced coma after being shot in the head. According to the police department's Facebook page, Garcia is responding to treatment as he fights to survive.
"I'm very sad, because it's senseless, and he didn't deserve this," said Renee Moreno of San Bernardino. "He got called out on a call, and he answered that call, only for the shooters to turn around and shoot him."
The gunfire erupted early Friday morning as Garcia and his partner, a trainee, confronted a group of people in the 1900 block of Garner Avenue.
Police say 38-year-old Alex Alvarado was armed with an assault rifle and a handgun, and opened fire on the pair.
Garcia was hit in the head. His partner, just two months out of the police academy, returned fire, killing Alvarado.
Garcia, who has a 2-year-old daughter, is a six-year veteran of the force. The 31-year-old followed in his father's footsteps. His dad is a captain with the department. Like his father, he is known for his commitment to the job and the community.
"He is calm and compassionate in nature, has earned multiple letters from the community, thanking him for his assistance in crimes. He is exemplary in every sense of the word," said police Chief Jarrod Burguan.
The department said Garcia's family is very thankful for all the support. The San Bernardino Police Officers Foundation has set up a fund for Garcia and his family. Donations can be made here.