Afghanistan

Army Veteran Fatally Shot Sunday in Sylmar Never Served in Afghanistan, Army Says

The LAPD reported Francisco Garcia had served overseas, citing family of the slain veteran

The 21-year-old Army veteran shot and killed in a north San Fernando Valley home on Sunday never served in Afghanistan, the Army said, contradicting reports from the Los Angeles Police Department and the soldier's friends.

Francisco Garcia was shot after a confrontation in Sylmar early Sunday morning. The LAPD originally said he was coming out of a homecoming party celebrating his return from Afghanistan two weeks before.

Friends told NBC4 that Garcia had been home longer. The LAPD later backtracked on its assertion -- which NBC originally reported -- saying that there was no evidence the party was a homecoming and that Garcia was likely home since the summer.

But Garcia, a private, didn't serve in Afghanistan at all, according to the Army. His only assignment after basic training was at a fort in New York, and was never deployed overseas by the time he was disharged in July, according to a spokeswoman for the Army.

She couldn't comment on what caused Garcia's departure from the Army.

Los Angeles police Lt. Paul Vernon said he announced that Francisco Garcia served in Afghanistan the morning the shooting happened, Sunday, Nov. 9, because of information he received from the victim's girlfriend and family.

"I had no reason to assume they were not telling the truth," Vernon said. Vernon also said "the shooting had nothing to do with his military service."

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Vincent Estrada, 18, was detained in connection with the shooting as he was driving with his parents in Sylmar, said Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division.

No charges have been filed in LA Superior Court as of 9:55 a.m. Thursday.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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