Garcia gets 10 yearsA Superior man was handed a 10-year sentence in Douglas County Court Tuesday for shooting a woman on the Fourth of July.
By: Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
A Superior man was handed a 10-year sentence in Douglas County Court Tuesday for shooting a woman on the Fourth of July.
Javier Garcia Sr., 42, was target shooting within city limits with a .22 caliber rifle near the Viking Bar in Superior’s North End on the evening of July 4. One of the bullets struck a female patron in the parking lot of JT’s Bar. She originally thought the injury to her foot was caused by fireworks, but responding firefighters and Gold Cross personnel discovered it was in fact a gunshot wound.
In October, Garcia pleaded guilty to felony charges of second degree reckless injury and possession of a firearm by a felon in conjunction with the incident. A third count, second degree reckless endangerment, was dismissed but read in for sentencing.
Judge Kelly Thimm sentenced Garcia to 10 years in Wisconsin state prison for the first count – seven years of initial confinement and three years of extended supervision – and 10 years in prison concurrent for the second count – five years initial confinement and five years extended supervision. In addition, Garcia was ordered to pay $3,823.75 restitution to cover medical bills and lost wages and $500 in fines.
Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank, who recommended prison time, called the sentence “a good serious message for a convicted felon who shoots a gun in the city limits and recklessly hits someone.”
Numerous character reference letters from friends and a counselor noted that Garcia was a friendly, pleasant “people person” who had used very poor judgment.
“Javier is not a career criminal,” wrote Linda Toppings, a counselor with Lutheran Social Services. His attorney, Stephen Zuber, argued for probation with an imposed and stayed prison sentence, with the condition that Garcia receive a comprehensive psychological evaluation.
Thimm noted that Garcia is three times a convicted felon with a consistent pattern of criminal behavior. Previous convictions in Minnesota were for theft and controlled substances, according to the criminal complaint. The judge told the court that probation would downplay the seriousness of the offense, and Garcia does not think of the consequences of his acts.
Blank said fortunately no one was seriously injured and, in fact, the victim has almost fully recovered. When police responded to the scene, they heard additional gunshots coming from the area of the Viking Bar with rounds hitting close to them. They gathered the civilians in the parking lot and took cover behind a squad car until an anonymous caller dialed 911 to report a male carrying a rifle walking into apartments above the bar.
Police searched the area where the shots were fired and found a rifle in the backseat of an SUV, according to the complaint. They conducted interviews of people who had been at a barbecue behind the bar, which led them to Garcia.
“A big thanks to the police department for their quick response in sorting out the case … so that we didn’t have some unknown gunman at large,” he said.