Miami police was likely an innocent victim struck down when two rival gangs began shooting at each other. The shooting also claimed the life of 16-year-old Ron Dwayne Jones, whose body was found nearby.
So far, no arrests have been made. Abdul said Jones was a customer, but that Garcia did not interact with him much.
Garcia, 26, had originally been charged with second-degree murder, and prosecutors planned to appeal Bloom’s ruling.
Police painted Garcia as a vigilante who chased Roteta for more than a block before stabbing him during the confrontation on Jan. 25, 2011.
Roteta’s cohort told police that Roteta also had an open pocket knife in his hand during the chase. However, police found a folded-up knife in the dead man’s pocket.
The confrontation was captured on video surveillance, but the judge said the images were too grainy to clearly tell what happened.
When he was interviewed by Miami homicide detectives, Garcia initially denied involvement. But after he was shown the surveillance video, Garcia admitted he chased down Roteta to get his radio back and kept the other radios after stabbing him.
At first, Garcia claimed Roteta had a screwdriver in his hand. Then, he admitted he did not see a weapon but feared for his life when the bag of radios was swung at him, according to Bloom’s order.
Bloom, in her order, said that under the law, Garcia “was well within his rights to pursue the victim and demand the return of his property . . . the defendant had no duty to retreat and could lawfully pursue a fleeing felon who has stolen his property.”
The judge acknowledged in her order that Garcia did not call police or 911, but went home and fell asleep. He later sold the extra car radios and hid the knife. Those actions, however, did not sway the judge in ruling in favor of his self-defense claim.