Ivan Garcia, 26, of Garden Grove, was sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison for the unprovoked shooting a man moving his car, resulting in injuries that left the victim confined to a wheelchair with a chunk of his brain missing.
Garcia in February was convicted by a jury of one felony count each of attempted murder and street terrorism with sentencing enhancements and allegations for attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, criminal street gang activity, and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury.
His sentence was the maximum allowed under state law.
David Puga and his wife returned to their home on a Garden Grove cul-de-sac after grocery shopping around 9:30 p.m. on April 27, 2008. Nearby, Garcia and another gang member were tagging a block wall, crossing out the graffiti of a rival gang and covering it with graffiti denoting their own gang.
After the couple put the groceries away, Puga, a 45-year-old father of five, went back outside to move his car from the street into his driveway.
For some unknown reason, Garcia pulled out a gun and shot Puga three times, with the bullets striking the dad's neck, arm and foot.
Garcia continued shooting at Puga as the victim tried to crawl toward his home for safety.
Dorothy Puga, the victim's wife, called 9-1-1 after hearing the gunshots and seeing her husband collapsed on the front doorstep of their home, bleeding.
He wound up having to have a large section of his brain removed. Puga now suffers from a permanent loss of physical control and is confined to a wheelchair. He also suffers from memory loss and substantially lacks basic motor and verbal functions.
Garcia and his partner in crime darted off, but a witness saw one of the taggers throw the graffiti spray can he'd been carrying into a dumpster near a convenience store. Police officers retrieved the spray can and submitted it for DNA testing.
The DNA matched that of Garcia, who was in the DNA database for a prior conviction from 2008 for being an accessory after the fact to a gang murder.
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The second gang member has not been identified.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office released a press release today that includes the impact statements Puga's wife and daughter gave during the sentencing hearing.
"All I have to say to you, Ivan, is that you will suffer in jail like my husband has to suffer for the rest of his life," Dorothy Puga said. "You have not only hurt our family, but by the way I see your mother crying in the courtroom, you have hurt your family as well."
"I will never forget the way my dad was looking at me as he lay on the driveway on his back with blood pouring out of his neck," said the Pugas' daughter, who was 16 at the time of the shooting. "I was screaming out loud, 'Dad, please don't die!'"