Police search for 19-YO Santa Rosa man's killer in factory outlet store shooting

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A brazen killing at a North Bay mall has police seeking the public's help.

The victim, Ezequiel Garcia, 19, was gunned down Saturday night at the Petaluma Factory Outlets on Petaluma Boulevard North. 

Garcia's killer got away and investigators are hoping for additional tips.

"We did receive numerous 9-1-1- calls," said Petaluma Police Lt. Ron Klein, who noted the shooting occurred in the parking lot at about 8 p.m.

The mall closes at 9 p.m., so dozens of shoppers and employees were still present. 

"It's an ongoing investigation, and we're not really sure what the motive behind this was," said Klein. 

The violence was startling for a city of 60,000 people with one or two homicides a year. 

"I wonder if it was gang related or anything,"  said Petaluma native Michelle Hakeem, shopping at the outlets with her twelve year old daughter. 

"It just seems like over the years more things are happening, downtown we have fights and stabbings," said Hakeem. 

"It's just not the small town it was when I was her age, Petaluma has changed a lot." 

Witnesses said they saw someone in dark clothing approach Garcia in his car and open fire.

The sedan then traveled more than 100 yards - hitting a wall and pole- before crashing in a flowerbed. 
Garcia was found unconscious behind the wheel, and died at the scene, in spite of efforts to revive him.  
That night, many mall customers and staff had to find another way home. 

"It inconvenienced a lot of people, not being able to get their cars because there was a large crime scene and it was locked down," said Klein. 

"People weren't able to get their cars until the next morning." 

Police aren't disclosing the type of gun or how many times Garcia was hit. 

Witnesses also report an older model red pickup truck leaving the area. 

Scanner traffic suggests it may have been a Ford with white letters on the tailgate. But it's connection to the crime is unconfirmed. 

"Everyone's phone was blowing up with alerts, and it's unlike Petaluma, so it's scary," said shopper Abby Lucha, who lives close to the mall. 

She expects to be more aware of her surroundings now. 

"Pay more attention, which I should do anyway, but people get very complacent in their hometowns or smaller communities and that's never a good idea," said Lucha.  

The open-air mall has about 40 retailers and a few security guards, but their focus seems to be more on the stores than the parking lot. 

Anyone with information regarding the case is encouraged to contact Petaluma Police Detective Walt Spiller at (707) 778-4456.

A reward up to $2,500 is being offered by the Sonoma County Alliance "Take Back Our Community Program". 

The reward is for information leading to the arrest of the suspect or suspects responsible for Garcia's killing.  %INLINE%