A man arrested on suspicion of possessing guns used in the shooting of a San Bernardino police officer Friday is now facing attempted murder charges as the 31-year-old officer continues to fight for his life at a hospital.
Jonathan Contreras was in custody after being arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, and possession of an assault rifle and sawed-off rifle, police records show. The development in the case comes as officials reported Saturday morning that Officer Gabriel Garcia responded “as well as could be expected” to overnight treatment.
Garcia, 31, was surrounded by family members at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center as they held out hope that the well-respected officer would pull through after being placed in a medically induced coma Friday night.
Several fellow officers showed up to the hospital Saturday to show their support.
“Officer Garcia is responding to treatment and continues to fight for his life. He is in good hands and receiving the best in care at ARMC,” according to a tweet from the San Bernardino Police Department Saturday morning.
Garcia was partnered with an unnamed trainee when he was shot by a suspected gunman who was later killed by authorities.
Police Chief Jarrod Burquan described Garcia, who has six years with the department, as an exceptional member of the police department where his father is a respected captain.
“He has served this community proudly and he’ll serve this community very well throughout his career,” Burguan said.
Garcia, a training officer, was with the officer-in-training around 2 a.m. when he approached a group of six people possibly drinking beer on Garner Avenue. Alex Alvarado, 38, allegedly shot Garcia twice in the upper body before a long gun battle that ended with the trainee killing the suspect.
It was unclear why Alvarado allegedly opened fire, but a cousin of the suspect said he was suicidal because his mother is dying, undergoing treatment at the same hospital where Garcia’s supporters held vigil Friday.
“Like I said, I don’t know what he was thinking,” said Albert Salazar.
Contreras was being held on $1 million bail.