CAPITOLA – The man who killed himself and his 8-year-old daughter in an SUV behind Capitola Mall last month had a mixture of cannabis, painkillers and stimulants in his system, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.
Carlos Garcia, 36, of Watsonville used a pistol to shoot his daughter, Elizabeth Yaxtel Garcia Tapia, and himself shortly after 3:15 p.m. March 19 in a parked Kia Soul, Capitola police said.
Garcia, who had been shopping at the mall with his wife and daughter, started to make suicidal threats while under the influence of methadone, methamphetamine and cannabis, according to toxicology results released Friday.
Sgt. Chris Clark, the sheriff’s office spokesman, said the drug amounts varied in Garcia’s system with methadone being most prevalent but still a trace amount. The toxicology report shows Garcia had 15 nanograms per milliliter of methadone in his system, Clark said.
Methadone, which is similar to morphine, is prescribed to treat heroin addiction, according to National Institutes of Health.
Elizabeth’s death was Santa Cruz County’s first homicide of 2017. There were seven homicides in 2016 and seven homicides in 2015 in Santa Cruz County.
A gofundme.com campaign raised nearly $25,000 for the child’s funeral expenses and family support. A separate gofundme.com campaign was launched by Principal Vicki Hallof of Mintie White Elementary School, where Elizabeth was a second-grader. The school’s campaign raised $7,100.
Elizabeth is survived by two siblings, her mother and many members of her extended family, Hallof said.
The Capitola Police Department is performing most of the criminal investigation with assistance by the sheriff’s office and Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office.
The shooting disrupted a sunny afternoon at the crowded mall. At the parking area behind the mall, Capitola police collected a handgun and were preparing to review mall surveillance, police said.
Suicide Prevention Service’s suicide crisis line is free, multilingual, confidential and available 24 hours a day. It can be reached at 877-663-5433.
Officials say a California man who killed his 8-year-old daughter and then himself in a mall parking lot last month had a mixture of methamphetamine, opioids and marijuana in his system.
Police in Santa Cruz County found both bodies with fatal gunshot wounds in a car outside Capitola Mall on March 19.
The girl’s mother had called authorities after becoming concerned that the man was “potentially suicidal.”
A coroner’s report released Friday says 36-year-old Carlos Garcia was under the influence of methamphetamine, methadone, and cannabis.
A handgun was recovered at the scene. Police are reviewing mall surveillance video as part of the ongoing investigation.