A Lodi man is waiting to learn whether he will regain his full vision after being shot this weekend in an incident that had gang detectives searching four cities.
Doctors had to remove two pellets of buckshot from one of Ruben Garcia Jr.'s eyes, and they determined it was too risky to try removing pellets from his esophagus, hand and torso, said his wife, Ana Garcia.
Meanwhile, the pregnant mother of three is looking for a new home because she no longer feels safe in her home of two years. Until this weekend, she said they'd had no problems, and police said they hadn't previously had contact with the Garcia family.
On Friday night, that changed.
For a reason Ana Garcia doesn't know, at least 20 young people gathered around 8 p.m. in the street outside her South Stockton Street home, near Pine Street. They had homemade club-like weapons, were yelling gang slogans and began throwing things at the home.
She went outside and told them to take their dispute somewhere else because her young children were home. The young people, some of whom she guessed where as young as 12, didn't take too kindly to her orders.
"They were saying, 'You're (expletive) marked. You're going to get hit tonight,'" she said.
Police ultimately responded to her 9-1-1 call, and the young people fled in all directions. Officers caught two of them and arrested one who was identified as throwing items at the house.
The family didn't know what started the altercation. Ana Garcia said they do have relatives who are involved with gang members, but that neither she nor her husband are gang members. She wonders if it all started because a man walked by their home and said hello to her husband because they'd gone to school together.
Hours later, a paranoid Ana Garcia had finally gotten to sleep while her husband sat on the front porch with her cousin, who was smoking a cigarette because it's not allowed inside.
Her husband quietly woke her after 2 a.m., telling her to move to a bedroom away from the front of the home. The troublemakers had returned.
"All of a sudden I hear my cousin come charging into the house saying, 'Everyone get down! They've got a shotgun!' I'm crawling on the floor trying to get to the phone," she said.
Ruben Garcia was bleeding and unconscious. He was taken by ambulance to Lodi Memorial Hospital, then transferred by ground ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. Her cousin, Alonzo Reyes, had also been shot but not critically.
Meanwhile, the suspects had fled. An officer arriving on scene saw some enter a nearby apartment that's home to a gang member on probation. Officers pounded repeatedly on the doors and windows but nobody answered, said Lodi Police Sgt. Doug Chinn.
The people hadn't been seen carrying a gun into the apartment, and it wasn't known if they were simply fleeing the area because they heard shots, said Cpl. Val Chaban. They didn't have enough cause to break down the door. So, because they had a limited number of officers on the streets, they decided to let gang detectives handle it later.
Eventually, though, someone apparently decided it shouldn't wait, and Chinn was called in, as supervisor of the gang unit.
Detectives then spent the next 12 hours searching a dozen homes in Lodi, Acampo, Thornton and even Walnut Creek, Chinn said.
The search included the apartment near the Garcia home; that time someone answered the door, and detectives talked to the occupants, Chinn said.
Nobody was arrested, and the shotgun hasn't been found.