Charges have been filed against four men who were involved in a fatal shooting outside of a St. Paul funeral home earlier this year.
Court documents show that 40-year-old David Nicholas Garcia, 30-year-old Mario Alberto Vega, 25-year-old Bryan Lara-Saavedra and 21-year-old Jesus Hernandez are charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon. In addition, Vega and Garcia face two charges each of illegal possession of a gun and ammunition by an ineligible person.
If convicted, Hernandez and Lara-Saavedra faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. If Vega and Garcia are convicted, they face maximum sentences of 37 years in prison and a $74,000 fine.
St. Paul Police officers were called to the Simple Traditions by Bradshaw funeral home on a report of a shooting at around 11:20 a.m.. A funeral for Latin King gang member, Casanova Carter, was taking place that morning.
Police found Martinez down on the sidewalk south of the funeral home when they arrived. He was sent to Regions Hospital where he was pronounced dead from a single gunshot wound to his back.
Lara-Saavedra was found at the scene with gunshot wounds to the left side of his stomach and his right leg, according to the complaint. Several others who were at the funeral home were treated at Regions Hospital for gunshot wounds. Authorities noted they found houses and vehicles in the area that were struck by bullets as well.
Surveillance video showed a fight break out on the sidewalk in front of the funeral home. People were seen in the video leaving the funeral home and joining the fight.
Martinez was involved in a fist fight at one point, and after Martinez had walked away, Lara-Saavedra pulled out a gun and shot a man in the neck. That man, unidentified in the complaint, was later treated for his injuries at the hospital and survived.
Once the gun was fired, many were seen on video running back to the funeral home. Two individuals, identified as Garcia and another man, were seen firing their handguns towards the group of people who are still seen on the surveillance camera.
The complaint goes on to say that Hernandez was standing in the boulevard and fired a gun in the direction that Martinez and others had fled. Vega came out of the funeral home and also fired shots in the same direction.
Lara-Saavedra later told police he was at the funeral because he went in support of his friend, and claimed he didn't know who Carter was. After he was made aware by investigators that they saw him fire the first shot, Lara-Saavedra admitted he had a permit to carry a firearm, and went on to ask for an attorney when he was asked if it was done in self-defense.
On Feb. 26, Hernandez was interviewed by authorities at the Dakota County Jail. Four guns were recovered from his home via a search warrant. Hernandez insisted he was inside the funeral home at all times, even when police told him they witnessed him outside, shooting his firearm. In addition to these charges, Hernandez is also charged with second-degree assault for firing a shotgun at another vehicle on Dec. 3, 2021 in Dakota County.
On April 28, Garcia was arrested at his home in St. Paul, where officers also found three guns. Garcia declined to comment on the incident, according to the complaint. He. has a prior conviction for second-degree murder that makes him unable to possess firearms or ammunition legally.
Vega also has three prior felony convictions, making him ineligible to own any firearms or ammunition.
All four are currently in custody.