Gaines County man sentenced to life for 2019 shooting of Seagraves officer

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 11:37 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 11:41 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Daniel Ray Garcia was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole after being convicted of aggravated assault against a public servant.

The trial began on June 14 with the jury selection. On Monday, both cases rested.

On Tuesday morning, the closing arguments began. By late Tuesday, the jury reached their verdict.

The shooting happened on April 29, 2019, just after 7:30 p.m. at 9th Street and Ave. J in the Gaines County, roughly 60 miles southeast of Lubbock.

According to DPS Troopers, the incident started as a traffic stop that turned into a short chase. Ultimately both the officer and person involved were shot. Both were brought to UMC in Lubbock.

Officials with the Texas Rangers were handling the investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

The Seagraves Officer, Matt Zalewski, was released from UMC the day after the shooting.

On Wednesday morning, Zalewski took to social media to share his thoughts on the shooting and the verdict:

On April 29th 2019 I was looking for a wanted fugitive who was also a known criminal gang member. While towards the beginning of shift and pulling into my usual interdiction spot off US 385 I observed a vehicle that matched the description of what the suspect was driving and leaving a street known to be where the suspect was living.

I had numerous probable cause violations to stop the vehicle and after a short pursuit the suspect pulled over, exited and began shooting at me while advancing towards me. After an exchange of gunfire we were both injured. I attempted to neutralize the threat with my patrol vehicle and subsequently crashed into the suspects truck to push it out of the way. Knowing I was hit and possibly dying I drove myself to the EMS Station where a 13 year old kid helped me place the first tourniquet on my arm. After that 2 citizens helped place the 2nd Tourniquet and Ryan Martinez showed up to assist in stopping the bleeding and providing medical care. Shortly after EMS Arrived and began to take over.

This last week the suspect, Daniel Ray Garcia went to trial. The Gaines County Jury gave him a Guilty Verdict with LIFE in Prison and a $10,000 Fine.

I am blessed and lucky to be here, and I am grateful for all the people who assisted me that day, assisted in the investigation, and assisted in the Trial. I would like to thank Chief Brent Grundström and EB Resendez for all the support and for having my back, and my Department at the the time. I especially appreciate the help of my 2 favorite dispatchers Debbie Villanueva-Regalado and Guisela. The Texas Rangers, The 106th District Attorney’s Office, Seminole Police Department, Gaines County Sheriff’s Department, Andrews Police Department, Texas DPS Troopers, Terry County Sheriffs Office, Seagraves/Loop EMS, Seagraves Volunteer Fire Department, The ATF, Lubbock Texas Anti-Gang Task Force, and anyone else who assisted and helped me through this process.

I also want to add that this shooting didn’t just affect me, but my family, friends, the community and the suspects family as well. All for a senseless crime by an evil suspect who had no humility and a lack of care for the world.

You can read our previous stories on this incident here.

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