LOS ANGELES, Calif. - An Army veteran who was fatally shot on a sidewalk in the San Vernando Valley was never deployed, despite a statement issued by authorities saying he had recently returned from Afghanistan and was shot outside a party celebrating his homecoming, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army says.
United States Army officials told 48 Hours' Crimesider Wednesday that 21-year-old Francisco Garcia did not serve time in Afghanistan, or any other country.
Garcia was fatally shot early Sunday after a party in Sylmar, Calif. Authorities arrested 18-year-old Vincent Estrada Tuesday on suspicion of murder in the case.
The Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement following the shooting saying Garcia "recently returned home from Afghanistan" and was gunned down "outside a party celebrating his homecoming."
LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon said, "The ironies are obvious. To survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict, only to be killed in your old neighborhood upon your return."
The LAPD has not immediately returned a request for comment on the newly conflicting information.
Wayne Hall, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army, says Garcia enlisted in June 2012 and was discharged in July of this year. Hall says Garcia was stationed at Ft. Drum in Watertown, N.Y. and was never deployed.