A man withdrawing ATM cash in Fontana for a family vacation was carjacked and shot to death early Saturday morning, and police throughout Southern California joined the search for his new maroon SUV in hopes of finding the killer.
“This was a senseless, cowardly act,” Det. Ray Schneiders said of the slaying of 40-year-old construction worker Jose Galvez, who lived in Fontana, about 45 miles east of Los Angeles.
To save time, Galvez headed to the ATM in a strip mall near his home at 4 a.m. while his family packed for their vacation in Baja California.
Police said the robbers confronted Galvez after he withdrew cash, shot him at least twice and stole his 2003 GMC Yukon that was parked a few feet away.
“He was there at that hour because they hoped to beat the holiday traffic,” Schneiders said.
Police had few clues to the identity of the person or persons who attacked Galvez at the exterior Bank of America teller machine in the 11600 block of Cherry Avenue. “Unfortunately, the parking lot was completely deserted, so we have no witnesses,” Schneiders said.
Homicide detectives were attempting to determine whether a bank surveillance camera captured the crime.
Passersby found Galvez lying next to the ATM with gunshot wounds to his upper body. He died later at a hospital. Homicide investigators would not say how many times he had been shot.
Police said they hoped the stolen SUV, license plate 5AAF180, would be found quickly.
“This is a vehicle that really stands out” because of its color and custom chrome rims, Schneiders said after broadcasting an all-points bulletin to law enforcement agencies from Bakersfield to the Mexican border.
The flashy wheels “unfortunately may have been an attraction” to the thief or thieves, the detective said. Carjackers and robbers at ATMs are known to lie in wait and size up potential victims on the basis of the car they drive, he said.
Schneiders described Galvez as a devoted family man.
“It’s heartbreaking what’s happened to this family,” the detective said, adding that in addition to his wife, Galvez had at least two teenage or pre-teen children. The family learned of the crime when Galvez did not return home and they drove to the bank. They found it surrounded by police tape and officers trying to identify the shooting victim.