South SF man shot by police sentenced to 24 years in prison

A 41-year-old man who was shot by a police officer in South San Francisco was sentenced today to 24 years in prison, San Mateo County prosecutors said.

Mario Garcia was found guilty earlier this month of five felony counts, including assault on an officer with a gun, two more assaults, possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Mark Forcum decided that Garcia’s actions on the day of the assault, and his lack of remorse Wednesday in court, showed that he poses a danger to the community for the rest of his life.

Police officers and Garcia’s sister also spoke at the sentencing hearing today, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

South San Francisco police responded to a fight inside a residence in the 600 block of Hemlock Avenue at 10:10 p.m. on March 31, 2016.

Prosecutors said Garcia had put the victim in a headlock, choking the man until he “saw stars.” After the victim broke free, Garcia threw a wooden statue and threatened to kill him.

Garcia went into the garage, where he kept a gun safe, and the victim ran out of the house with Garcia’s sister, who was holding her 1-year-old child.

Police arrived on scene, and Garcia came outside with a gun that he began to slowly raise. He was ordered to drop it, but did not comply, and Cpl. Ivan de la Cruz fired five shots — striking Garcia twice.

Garcia crawled back inside, hid the gun in his safe and surrendered, but he made threats against officers as well as the victim after being transported to a hospital.

A search of the scene revealed nine guns in Garcia’s safe, including an illegal assault rifle.

At the end of a 21-day jury trial, Garcia was convicted March 5 of felony assault on an officer with a firearm, felony assault, felony assault with a deadly weapon, felony possession of an assault rifle and felony threats, but the jury found him not guilty of felony brandishing and threatening an officer.

Defense attorney Kevin Allen was not immediately available to comment on his client’s case.

— Supriya Yelimeli, Bay City News

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