Petaluma outlet mall shooting victim was Santa Rosa man

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Petaluma police on Monday identified the person killed over the weekend in the parking lot of Petaluma Village Premium Outlets as a 19-year-old Santa Rosa man.

Ezequiel Garcia died after being shot while sitting in his Infiniti sedan Saturday night, while hundreds of people were shopping and working in the outlet stores. Detectives are still working to identify a suspect in the shooting, Sgt. Paul Gilman said. Detectives have collected evidence that suggests a possible motive, but he declined to reveal that information at this point in the investigation.

Gilman said there is nothing now that indicates it was a gang-related shooting. He declined to say if Garcia knew the shooter or what the teenager was doing in the parking lot.

An autopsy was conducted Monday, but Gilman declined to release details investigators presumably learned from it such as how many shots were fired at Garcia and the type of gun used to kill him. No gun was found at the scene.

This was the second murder in Petaluma this year, the first being a murder-suicide March 28, when a man shot his wife and then himself. Before that, the city’s last homicide occurred Sept. 10, 2017, when a 24-year-old Windsor resident died after being stabbed during an altercation on the 100 block of Kentucky Street.

Saturday night’s shooting occurred about an hour before the shopping center closed at 9 p.m. Gilman said a person wearing dark clothing approached Garcia who was in his car in the southwest corner of the parking lot, near the Converse store and OshKosh B’Gosh. The suspect fired repeatedly, hitting Garcia at least once.

After the gunfire, Garcia stepped on the car’s gas pedal and accelerated forward, Gilman said. Garcia’s car ultimately hit a concrete wall and stopped in a strip of landscaping. Police found Garcia’s body behind the wheel and he was pronounced dead at the scene. Numerous people called 911 about 8 p.m. to report the gunfire and crash.

Witnesses told police they saw an older model red truck with white writing on it leaving the parking lot area where the shooting occurred. There’s no evidence connecting the driver of the truck with the shooting, Gilman said, but police still would like to talk to that person.

Detectives are still gathering surveillance video from the surrounding area, and are trying to determine if the shooting was caught on tape, Gilman said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Detective Walt Spiller at 707‑778‑4456. The Sonoma County Alliance “Take Back Our Community Program” is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest.

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