“They made him sound like he was a thief, but he wasn’t a thief he was an average citizen, ” said Ismal Garcia of his nephew, 32-year-old Cesar Garcia, shot and killed after breaking into a Bermuda Dunes home early Saturday morning.
Ismal Garcia says his nephew, Cesar Garcia, was mistaken for an intruder.
He says Cesar was out that night celebrating a new job with friends and had a little too much to drink. Garcia says Cesar got lost and was trying to find his way back to his friend’s home when he started knocking on doors in the neighborhood.
“No one has the right to shoot a boy like that. Anybody can tell a robber from a drunk,” Garcia said.
Garcia says his nephew was harmless, didn’t carry a weapon and had no criminal history. But police say that night he tried breaking into two other homes unsuccessfully before making it into the third home.
The homeowner, who wouldn’t go on camera, told News Channel 3 he took action to protect his wife and two young children.
“I wish they would have warned him first and said you’re knocking on the wrong house. A fair warning would have been fine,” Garcia said.
Local defense attorney David Greenberg says if someone breaks into your home, the law presumes they’re there to do you harm and it’s within your rights as a homeowner to use lethal force.
Garcia says he believes this wasn’t the home owner’s only option.
Cesar Garcia leaves behind three sons and a family struggling to come to terms with what they call a terrible mistake.
“They’re devastated. He was an average worker and average family man and a loving man doing the right thing. Now I’m worried about his sons,” Garcia said.
The family asks for donations for Garcia’s funeral donations and for a fund for his children:
P.O. Box 83103 Ave 48 Suite 1B-163
Coachella, CA 92236
(checks or money orders)