Manuel Garcia Held in Connection with Shooting Death of Luis Melendez

Manuel Garcia, 20, was ordered held Thursday on suspicion of second-degree murder while armed in connection to the shooting death of Luis E. Avila Melendez. Garcia was arrested Wednesday.

On June 21, 27-year-old Melendez was found shot after 2 a.m. near the intersection of Fuller street and Mozart place. Charging documents say a witness called 911 after hearing five to six gunshot and seeing a Hispanic man and woman running.

According to the documents, video shows Garcia and a woman walk past Melendez and another man in the 2500 block of 17th street that night. Then, Garcia is seen returning to Melendez and the other man, and the three appear to communicate.

On the video footage, the woman returns minutes later and Garcia begins walking away. As Garcia walks out of view of the video, he appears to point a black gun in the direction of the other two men, charging documents state.

Less than 10 minutes later, different footage shows Garcia and the other man a few blocks away running toward Fuller Street Northwest, then running in the opposite direction. At 2:23 a.m., Melendez is seen falling to the ground where he was found, documents say.

In an interview with police, the woman with Garcia in the video initially said that she had not seen Garcia in a month or two, documents say. Later the woman told police she was very intoxicated the night of the shooting and therefore “could not be sure if what she said happened that night was accurate.”

The woman said she and Garcia walked past Melendez and the other man while they appeared to be arguing, documents say. She told police that the two men tried to speak to them in Spanish, according to the documents, but she didn’t understand “because she was not fluent enough.”

The woman said that Garcia walked up to “one or both” of the two men to see what was wrong, but that Garcia could not understand what they were saying either. She then said that when Garcia went up to the men, one had a belt wrapped around his hand.

According to the woman, Melendez and the other man “kept threatening her and [Garcia]” and that one man “kept touching his waist like he had a gun or something.”

After this confrontation, the woman said she and Garcia went through the park and saw the two men again. She said they were “moving quickly” toward them and one of the men said he would put a gun to “her head or our heads,” documents say.

The woman told police that she hid behind Garcia and heard shots, but was not sure who fired the shots. Documents say she estimated that she heard four shots.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 10 before Judge Rhonda Reid Winston.

A copy of the charging documents is below.

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