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Army veteran back from Afghanistan is shot dead in Sylmar

Army veteran back from Afghanistan is fatally shot in Sylmar after dispute

A 21-year-old Army veteran who recently returned from Afghanistan was fatally shot after a dispute on a Sylmar street early Sunday, police said.

Francisco Garcia died at the scene of the shooting in the 13200 block of Dronfield Street before 2 a.m., said Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon.

"The ironies are obvious," Vernon said. "To survive as a soldier in an overseas conflict, only to be killed in your old neighborhood upon your return.' 

Garcia had been celebrating with family and friends at the home of his girlfriend nearby when partygoers decided to move to a new location, said Det. Juan Santa.

Two cars pulled up to where the group was standing near Astoria St.,  when the occupant of one of the cars jumped out, smashed a beer bottle on the ground and yelled at Garcia.

It appears that the dispute did not originate at the party but stemmed from a previous confrontation, Santa said. The suspect walked to the other vehicle, retrieved a handgun from the occupant and began shooting at Garcia.

"There was more than likely a verbal exchange, but it's not clear what the nature of the dispute was," Santa said.

Garcia had apparently returned from Afghanistan over the summer, officials said.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Los Angeles Police Department's Mission Station at (818) 838-9948. 

Twitter: @CarlaRiveraLat

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