LANCASTER (CBSLA) — Family, friends and community members stood in prayer Tuesday over the spot where a 53-year-old man was attacked July 8.
“He was fighting Stage 4 cancer, as it is,” Ashley Garcia, the victim’s daughter, said. “My father is my best friend, we did everything together. Right now, I’m trying to be strong for him.”
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Daniel Garcia died after being punched in the face. His friend, Fabian, said they were walking home along East Avenue K after buying soda from a nearby store.
As they walked home, Fabian said three men pulled up in a car next to them and then exited the car. One of the men then punched Garcia as the three suspects yelled expletives and shouted “Black lives matter,” before leaving.
“They did not take his wallet, so we are anticipating this was a hate crime,” Dr. Miguel Coronado, a spokesperson for the Garcia family, said. “And because it’s so heinous and so senseless and so stupid and ignorant, it just breaks our community’s heart that he had to die when he was already dying.”
One person who understands the Garcia family’s pain is Cecilia Ramirez. Her father, 81-year-old Roberto Florez-Lopez, was robbed and assaulted in the bathroom of a Lancaster grocery store on the same day Garcia was attacked.
“It could’ve been us,” Ramirez said. “We could’ve been burying my father, and I felt if the community was good to us, and God was good to us, then we need to help them and support them, because they need our help.”
Investigators said they received a lot of help from the community and the two suspects in her father’s beating later turned themselves into the authorities, but the suspects in Garcia’s case have not been caught.
“I’m not going to stop fighting for justice, because that’s my father, you know,” Garcia said. “He meant the world to me.”
Garcia’s family said the suspects got away in a silver or white four-door Honda Civic. Anyone with information was asked to call the LASD’s homicide bureau.