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Man gets life for gunning down teen on bicycle in case of mistaken identity murder

Jonathan Camacho (Courtesy of Camacho family)

Jonathan Camacho (Courtesy of Camacho family)

A man was sentenced to life without parole for gunning down a 16-year-old boy on his bicycle after mistakenly thinking the boy was connected to someone he was targeting for murder.

Luis Garcia was sentenced last week in the 2021 shooting of Jonathan Camacho, authorities said in a news release on Sunday. Garcia was found guilty last week of first-degree murder, possessing an instrument of crime, and related illegal firearm violations, prosecutors said in a statement.

On Jan. 4, 2021, Garcia shot Camacho eight times after the teen rode past him on his bicycle. Garcia fled in a Subaru Legacy driven by another man. Officers arrived and tried to save the boy’s life, but he died.

Camacho’s parents said the loss pierced a hole in the family that will never be filled again.

“We wish we could have been there to hold Jonathan so he wouldn’t be alone while taking his last breath,” wrote his family in a statement read to the court. “At such a young age, Jonathan did everything he could to protect his mother and family. He had so many hopes and dreams about what he wanted to be in the future and what he wanted to do to make sure his mother and family were taken care of.”

Surveillance footage showed Garcia wearing distinct shoes and a body pack in a Chinese food store shortly before the killing. Footage also showed him taking off after the shooting.

A week after the killing, detectives spotted the same Subaru in the neighborhood and pulled it over. Police searched the car, registered to Garcia’s co-defendant, Eric Santiago, and found the body pack worn by Garcia on the night of the shooting, authorities said.

When caught and confronted with evidence a week after the killing, prosecutors said both men confessed.

“It was determined during this interrogation that Garcia gunned down the teen because he believed Camacho was associated with another individual that Garcia was targeting for murder,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in a news release. “With this conviction and sentencing, my office continues to send the message to those who may be contemplating senseless acts of violence: You will be caught and convicted.”

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