HUNTSVILLE, Texas - Former San Antonio street gang member Frank Garcia was executed Thursday evening for fatally shooting a veteran police officer who was trying to resolve a domestic dispute that also left Garcia's wife dead.
The 39-year-old Garcia shouted "Thank you Yahweh" over and over until he lost consciousness. He was pronounced dead at 7:02 p.m. CDT Thursday.
The lethal injection, the 12th this year in the nation's most active death penalty state of Texas, came some 30 minutes after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down Garcia's appeals. His attorneys argued Garcia was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. They also argued lawyers earlier in the appeals process and at his trial in 2002 were ineffective in failing to properly address those mental impairment issues.
He was condemned for the slaying of Hector Garza, 48, a father of five who had served 25 years on the San Antonio police force when he was killed March 29, 2001.
Garza was shot while responding, for a second time that day, to a call about a man trying to keep a woman from leaving the south San Antonio home with two children. He went inside and found Garcia with his wife, Jessica.
Garcia told detectives following his arrest that he shot Garza in the head because he knew officers wore protective vests.
"When I shot I aimed for his head and that's where I hit him," he said. "I don't know how many times I shot my gun. I just turned real fast. I saw the officer go down. The officer never had his gun out that I noticed."
Garcia said he then "went crazy," turned toward his wife and shot her.
He went outside and started shooting more, hitting parked cars and a school across the street. He also wounded his wife's uncle, who had come to help his niece leave the house with her children. The children were not hurt.
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He eventually surrendered to other police arriving at the scene.