Angel Garcia’s morning in Hialeah rapidly changed from feeding of his pigeons to clubbing off an armed robbery attempt with a yard statue moments after being shot.
Then Garcia was arrested on cocaine trafficking charges.
That’s how Hialeah police described what happened at 5015 Palm Ave. around 10:30 a.m. Monday that ended with two middle-aged men in jail.
Garcia’s counterpart in Monday’s violent lawn encounter was 47-year-old Joel Figueroa of South Miami-Dade, who just finished his third turn in a Florida prison. On Feb. 1, Figueroa was released after doing eight years and 10 months for a chunk of charges that included carjacking, grand theft and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was on probation until Jan. 6, 2018.
Now Figueroa is charged with home invasion robbery, using a firearm to commit a felony, aggravated battery with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. All of that would be considered a violation of his probation.
While investigating the shooting, police say they found a black sunglasses case containing 158 tiny plastic bags and 75 grams of cocaine (street value of $1,500 to $2,137, according to NarcoticsNews.com’s price guide) underneath a sofa in Garcia’s home. That led to the 50-year-old being charged with cocaine trafficking, possession with intent to sell within 1,000 feet of a park (Milander Park) and renting a place for the purpose of trafficking cocaine. Garcia denied that the cocaine was his.
Although Figueroa’s first two Florida prison terms involved cocaine possession with intent to sell or distribute, that’s not what police say he demanded when he pulled his gun on Garcia.
Garcia’s guard was down as he was approached while feeding his pigeons, according to the arrest report. Figueroa asked about buying a pigeon, then asked for a glass of water. When Garcia went inside, Figueroa followed and pulled out a semi-automatic handgun. He told Garcia to hand over his jewelry, police said.
The 220-pound Garcia lunged at Figueroa. Their fight crashed into the yard, where Figueroa shot Garcia in the lower left abdomen, police said. Garcia grabbed a statue and hit Figueroa’s head until the robbery suspect dropped his gun. Hialeah police arrested Figueroa soon after.
Garcia was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital and released later Monday. He was then arrested.