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South Bend man involved in call-in sentenced for gun crime

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A South Bend man who took part in the South Bend Group Violence Intervention (SBGVI) strategy now faces 63 months in prison on gun charges.

James Dean Garcia Jr., 33, of South Bend was sentenced Friday to 63 months imprisonment and two years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to officials.

The sentence stems from an incident back in September 2014, according to court documents, when police say Garcia fired several shots from his vehicle.

One month prior to the incident, Garcia had taken part in an SBGVI call-in. The call-in involved members of groups most likely to be victims or perpetrators of violence, according to a press release.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms along with the South Bend Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth M. Hays.

Full release below:

United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, David Capp, announced that James Dean Garcia, Jr, 33, of South Bend, Indiana, was sentenced today, for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Garcia was sentenced to 63 months imprisonment and two years of supervised release.

According to documents in the case, on September 6, 2014, Garcia was driving an SUV near the intersection of Calvert and Prospect Streets in South Bend when he fired several rounds from his vehicle. Officers responded to the call of shots fired and were on the scene when the suspected vehicle was traveling towards them at a high rate of speed. Officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and identified the driver, James Dean Garcia, Jr. Officers learned Garcia had a suspended license. During the process of asking Garcia to step out of the vehicle, officers saw a spent shell casing on the driver's seat. All occupants were removed from the vehicle and a firearm was discovered in the center console of the vehicle. Garcia admitted possessing and shooting the firearm saying that he wasn't trying to hurt anyone but had done "something stupid." Mr. Garcia has a lengthy criminal history which includes a prior felony conviction for a firearm offense.

In May of 2014, local police, prosecutors, the Clergy, members of the community, and social services began to work together to decrease gun violence in our streets by implementing the South Bend Group Violence Intervention (SBGVI) strategy.http://www.ci.south-bend.in.us/government/content/south-bend-group-violence-intervention.

On August 28, 2014, several members of the community believed to be members of groups most likely to be victims or perpetrators of violence were invited to attend the SBGVI Call-In. The SBGVI Call-In is a component of the SBGVI Strategy at which attendees are asked to spread the message that shooting will not be tolerated. The Call-In included a presentation describing a vast array of social services and community organizations available for anyone needing assistance to leave a violent lifestyle. Attendees were given two warnings: (1) that the next member of a represented group to shoot someone would cause the entire group to face strict scrutiny from law enforcement and; (2) that law enforcement would continue its normal efforts to prosecution crimes against individual group members even when those groups were not the focus of heightened law enforcement attention.

Mr. Garcia attended the SBGVI Call-In on August 28, 2014.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms along with the South Bend Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth M. Hays.

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