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Stray Bullet In Gang Fight Hits 10-Year-Old

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As families gathered in a Walmart parking lot in Nampa, Idaho, for a fireworks show June 29, a fistfight between members of two rival gangs escalated into a firefight.

One of the bullets struck a 10-year-old girl in the shoulder, according to KTVB. She was rushed to the hospital and will survive her injury, although surgeons will not remove the bullet, fearing the possibility of causing permanent nerve damage.

The girl's mother said that at first, she thought the shots were bottle rockets before she saw her daughter fall to the ground.

The reported shooters were Ezri Garcia, 21, and Mario Garza, 19. Prosecutor Erica Kallin said that investigators uncovered Facebook messages indicating that Garcia, a member of the Sureno gang, and Garza, a member of Norteno, had gotten into a fight a week prior to the shooting.

When they spotted each other in the parking lot, they began fist fighting. In the midst of the fight, Garza struck Garcia with his handgun. After that, the two opened fire at each other.

Nampa Police Capt. Curt Shankel told the Idaho Press, "Officers were quick to the scene and were able to take control quickly and apprehend [Garcia] without any further incident."

Garcia was booked on charges of aggravated assault with a firearm. At the scene, investigators found a small handgun belonging to Garcia, as well as shell casings from two different weapons.

Garza was identified as the second shooter on July 1, two days after the shooting, reports KTVB, and was apprehended with two other gang members July 4. Garza's arrest followed a two-hour standoff with police at an apartment complex that began at noon. Negotiators urged him to turn himself in, which he did without incident at 2:15 p.m.

In late November, Garcia pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with intent to inflict great bodily injury and felony riot, with a gang sentencing enhancement. Garza pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a weapons enhancement and felony riot with a gang enhancement.

Between them, they had accrued 50 felony charges, but most of them were removed as part of their plea agreements.
Garcia and Garza face between five and seven years in prison with indeterminate terms of 12 and 11 years, respectively.

Kallin said the wounded girl's mother is satisfied, but not thrilled by the plea deals. "She obviously wants more," Kallin said, "but would prefer her child not have to testify if this was to proceed to trial."

Sources: KTVB (23), Idaho Press / Photo credit: TR Haun/Flickr

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