Scene of Dollar Tree vigil death and slaying. Photo via Google Maps
Scene of Dollar Tree vigil death and slaying. Photo via Google Maps

Santa Ana police Friday were looking for someone who ran over a woman and killed her with a car following a confrontation at a candlelight vigil for the victim’s relative, who was shot to death earlier in the week.

Police were called about 10:40 p.m. Thursday to a report of someone getting hit by a car at a Dollar Tree store at 1900 N. Grand Ave., said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

That was the same location of a fatal shooting about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Joseph Frank Garcia, 23, of Orange was gunned down there and police were looking for his killer.

On Thursday night, Garcia’s friends and family gathered for a candlelight vigil in the shopping center, Bertagna said. Garcia’s relative — Trisha Irene Verdugo, 27, of Orange, suffered fatal injuries when she was run over by a car there, Bertagna said.

“For some reason the suspect has a verbal confrontation with (Verdugo),” Bertgana said.

It was not immediately clear what triggered the argument, Bertagna said.

“What we do know is that confrontation led to him getting into the car and stepping on the gas” and hitting Verdugo, Bertagna said.

“Based on witness statements and the math from the collision experts he intentionally struck her with his vehicle,” Bertagna said. “She, in turn, flew several feet and then he stopped, accelerated and ran her over and then fled the scene.”

The suspect is a white or Latino man and was driving a dark sedan, Bertagna said.

Garcia — who had a history of drug-related offenses but had no gang ties — was shot multiple times in his upper body Wednesday night, he said.

A motive for that shooting was still unclear, Bertagna said.

Anyone with information on the crime was urged to call homicide detectives at (714) 245-8390, or Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.

[symple_googlemap title=”Dollar Tree death” location=”1900 N. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA” height=”300″ zoom=”15″]

— City News Service

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