Family of man killed by Tustin police wants officer behind bars

Jessica De Nova Image
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Family of man killed by Tustin police wants officer behind bars
A grieving family is demanding a Tustin police officer be arrested after seeing video of a fatal shooting of their loved one.

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- A grieving family is demanding justice after watching a video showing the moments leading up to the death of their loved one at the hands of police.

Luis Manuel Garcia was shot by an officer with the Tustin Police Department on the morning of Aug. 9.

Garcia who was homeless, died later in a local hospital.

Garcia's sister, Juana Garcia Arias, and her daughter, Selene Garcia, were heartbroken after watching the recording.

"It happens too many times where we can't allow it anymore. We have to speak up," Selene Garcia said.

Eyewitness News obtained the body camera video used to brief police on the incident.

After a 911 call reporting a man with a knife living in the bushes outside a mobile home park on Williams Street, officers arrived to find Garcia sleeping.

The female officer is heard telling Garcia, "Hey. Wake up. Come out with your hands up."

The female officer has her gun drawn. It appears she has a history with Garcia because she is heard telling him, "I know you. Come on."

A spokesperson with the Tustin PD would not confirm this.

Just more than a minute after the female officer is seen making contact with Garcia, shots are fired.

After Garcia responds in Spanish saying he is waiting for his friend, the officer, with her gun now holstered, insists Garcia come out.

Garcia agrees, saying he's collecting recyclables, asking why police are taking him.

But as Garcia works his way out, the male officer is heard in the video saying Garcia has a stick.

The male officer draws his taser. The female officer draws her gun.

Garcia comes out with his stick and a bag. The male officer tases Garcia. Afterward, the female officer shoots Garcia.

"He was already vulnerable as it was, for her to shoot him it wasn't OK," Selene Garcia said.

Garcia's family said he struggled with mental illness, but refused their help.

Garcia's sister told Eyewitness News she wants to see the officer who shot her little brother behind bars.

Juana Garcia Arias said her brother was murdered and the public is not safe with this officer on duty.

The Tustin PD confirmed last Friday that the officer was not on leave as they investigated the case.

At the end of the video, police say Garcia was armed with a solid wooden pole.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office is assisting the California Department of Justice in the investigation. Per California law, the state DOJ steps in when it is determined a suspect was not armed during an officer-involved shooting.