Palmetto police searching for man wanted in 2014 homicide

Palmetto police are searching for Ricardo Garcia Jr. of Palmetto, for the 2014 murder of Javare Thomas.

According to police, Thomas was shot in the back of the head while riding in the backseat of a sedan in March 2014.

Police say Thomas was a passenger in a friend’s car that had just left The Hall night club in Palmetto. As their car traveled along Haban Boulevard toward U.S. 41, a black pick-up truck pulled up next to the vehicle and the driver fired several shots into the sedan. One of the shots struck Thomas in the head. His friends took him to Manatee Memorial Hospital, where he died. 

Police, who spent years investigating the case, said shortly before the shooting, Garcia, 28, got into a fight with someone at The Hall. They said Garcia followed that person up Haban Boulevard in a black pickup truck. 

Investigators say when Garcia caught up with the vehicle Thomas was riding in, he mistook it as the vehicle occupied by the person he had just been in a fight with. That’s when police say Garcia fired into the misidentified vehicle and shot Thomas.

Detectives from the Palmetto Police Department, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshall’s Service are actively looking for Garcia, who will be charged with first-degree murder upon his arrest. 

Anyone with information about the case or with information about Garcia’s whereabouts is asked to call the Palmetto Police Department at 941-721-2000 or Detective Joe Rogers at 941-920-3849.

Anyone with information about this case or Garcia’s whereabouts may also contact the Manatee County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-8477 or at Persons providing information may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward. The Palmetto Community Redevelopment Authority will also match any Crime Stopper reward.

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