4 men charged in shooting outside St. Paul funeral home
Charges have been filed against four men in connection to a fatal shooting outside a St. Paul funeral home in February.
Court records show that 21-year-old Jesus Hernandez, 25-year-old Bryan Lara-Saavedra, 30-year-old Mario Alberto Vega, and 40-year-old David Nicholas Garcia are charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. Vega and Garcia also each face two charges of illegal possession of a gun and ammunition by an ineligible person.
The shooting on Feb. 21 killed 28-year-old Agustin Martinez. None of the four defendants face homicide charges.
St. Paul police were called to Simple Traditions funeral home on Humboldt Avenue at around 11:20 a.m. on a report of a shooting. The shooting happened during the funeral for Latin King gang member Casanova Carter.
According to a criminal complaint, surveillance video showed that a fight broke out on the sidewalk in front of the funeral home, and several people came outside to join in the fight. Authorities say Martinez was involved in the fight but walked away at one point. That’s when Lara-Saavedra allegedly pulled out a gun and fired the first shot.
The complaint states Garcia and another man were firing shots near the entryway of the funeral home while Hernandez was in the boulevard, firing toward Martinez. Vega is accused of coming outside and firing at Martinez.
Several people were injured in the shooting, including Lara-Saavedra, and nearby houses and vehicles were also struck by bullets.
Police say the men either didn’t discuss the shooting with investigators or gave statements that didn’t line up with what the surveillance video showed. Additionally, prosecutors dropped charges against the man police said was firing shots while next to Garcia, citing a lack of evidence to sustain the burden of proof.
Garcia made his first court appearance on Friday and had his bail set at $250,000. His next hearing is set for May 27. The other three men are not yet in custody and were charged via warrant.
A second-degree assault conviction would carry up to seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. The ineligible possession charges each carry up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 with a conviction.