Last updated at 5:11 PM on 23rd April 2011
- 2004 killing had been a cold case until officers spotted the tattoo by chance
A gang member has been convicted of a murder that went unsolved for seven years – after police discovered a detailed tattoo of the killing inked on the gunman’s chest.
Anthony Garcia’s telltale tattoo has a man with the body of a peanut – gang slang for a rival gang member – being hit by bullets and falling back towards the liquor store.
Garcia’s nickname was ‘Chopper’ and a miniature helicopter is depicted raining shots down on the scene.
Anthony Garcia¿s tattoo has a man with the body of a peanut ¿ slang for a rival gang member ¿ being hit by bullets and falling back towards a liquor store. Garcia’s nickname was Chopper and a mini helicopter is firing shots
The tattoo even showed the Christmas lights that were hanging from the roof of the liquor store where 23-year-old John Juarez was shot in the 2004 murder.
And it included a street lamp and sign from across the street.
The whole scene was sketched out under the chilling banner of ‘RIVERA KILLS’, a reference to the Los Angeles Latino street gang, Rivera-13.
Police revealed today how they only made the breakthrough by chance when homicide investigator Kevin Lloyd was flipping through snapshots of tattooed gang members.
Out of the blue, Garcia’s tattoo caught his attention because it reminded him of a murder case he helped probe years earlier.
The detective then helped set up a sting to trick the 25-year-old into confessing to the killing.
Garcia had only been arrested on a minor traffic offence and his bare chest was photographed because gang graffiti artists often mark their own bodies with the same signatures they spray on buses and storefronts.
The liquor store where 23-year-old John Juarez was shot in the
2004 murder, also seen in Garcia’s tattoo
The tattoo shows the Christmas lights that were hanging from the roof of the liquor store at the time of the murder
Gang members also sometimes have tattoos that could help link them to a crime.
At the time, the tattoo meant nothing to the officers who arrested Garcia and he was let go.
Homicide Lt. Dave Dolson said it was unheard of for a tattoo to lay out a detailed crime scene.
‘I haven’t seen it before and I haven’t heard of anything like it, either,’ he told the Los Angeles Times.
After Lloyd recognised the mural, sheriff’s detectives arrested Garcia for the shooting and officers, posing as gang members, got a confession from the gang member who bragged to them about carrying out the shooting.
The ink job even includes a street lamp and sign from across the street
This week, it led to a first-degree murder conviction in a case that police had at one time given up hope of ever solving.
Lloyd, the investigator who cracked the case, had been at the scene of the murder in 2004 when he was a station sergeant in Pico Rivera, Los Angeles.
‘I worked Pico Rivera a lot of years, so I’m pretty familiar with that area. It was incredible,’ he told the Times.
‘Think about it. He tattooed his confession on his chest. You have a degree of fate with this,’ added Captain Mike Parker.
‘The detective who spotted it had been a Pico sergeant who went on to become a homicide sergeant. I never worked Pico station. I never would have recognized that Pico liquor store.
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Sorry, no it doesn’t – “Why does The Mail keep reporting on American crimes? – Billy Bunter, Fulchester, 22/4/2011 10:37 _______________________________________________ Hey Billie, at the top of the page, you may view news highlights for USA by clicking the “HOME” tab or to view news items for Great Britain by clicking the “U.K. Home” tab. Hope this helps.
- Susan123, San Francisco, CA, 22/4/2011 22:41″
They still appear in our ‘Headlines’ and we don’t know that the articles is not UK related till halfway through the story! Especially when there is a UK town name in the story!
Wow – what a shock – typically gang members are so smart.
For the first time ever-WELL DONE COPS!!
i like his belt
Fair play officers, that was a nice piece of work.
Because life in Britain is so dull. BTW those Angelenos are not known to have a lotta brains, too much inbreeding.
- John Odijk, San Diego, California Republic, 23/4/2011 3:34 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Yeah, that makes a world of sense, chippy about something eh John?
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