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Published: Saturday, 8/23/2014

Officer critical in coma after California gunfight


SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A San Bernardino policeman remained in a medically induced coma Saturday after he was shot in the head by a man who was then killed by another officer in a shootout, police said.

Gabriel Garcia, 31, was in extremely critical condition at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, police said.

Garcia was responding to treatment and fighting for his life, police Chief Jarrod Burguan said in a post on the Police Department’s Facebook page.

Garcia is a highly commended, six-year veteran of the department who has spent much of his career on patrol duty and some time on a graffiti task force, police said. His father, Ron Garcia, is a captain with the department.

Gabriel Garcia was shot once in the head and twice in the upper body on Friday, Lt. Richard Lawhead said.

Garcia and his partner — a trainee on the job for just two months — stopped to talk to a group of people standing outside a home on a cul de sac when one of them pulled a gun and immediately opened fire, Burguan said earlier.

During a shootout, Garcia’s partner fired at least 30 rounds and wounded the gunman, Lawhead said.

The shooter, identified by police as Alex Alvarado, 38, of San Bernardino, died at a hospital.

Lawhead said investigators were still trying to determine whether anyone else in the group fired at the officer.

Two other men were arrested and jailed. Jonathan Contreras, 20, of San Bernardino was held on suspicion of attempted murder, possession of an assault rifle and possession of a sawed-off rifle, police said.

While Alvarado fired the weapons, they were in the possession of Contreras, Burguan has said.

Orlando Cruz, 24, was arrested in connection with outstanding traffic warrants.

Lawhead said he didn’t know whether the men had obtained attorneys.

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