San Benito shooting suspect in jail; Victim remains in intensive care unit

SAN BENITO — Captured and in custody.

Jose Luis Garcia Jr., who led authorities on an extensive manhunt in connection to a shooting, was charged Thursday afternoon with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony.

Justice of the Peace David Garza set his bond at $1 million.

Garcia, 36, was captured Thursday morning in Weslaco by officers of the Weslaco Police Department after responding to a call from a person who made contact with the wanted suspect, according to officials.

The suspect was taken into custody without further incident. He appeared in court in Weslaco before being transferred to Cameron County authorities for a formal arraignment.

He has a criminal record. He is affiliated with gangs in the Rio Grande Valley area. He is a danger to society,” Garza said in a phone interview after the arraignment. “I’ve dealt with him in the past. I think he was gone for a while, and I guess he’s still at it.”

Garcia was wanted in connection to the Wednesday morning shooting of an unidentified woman at a residence at the 300 block of Jay Street and Sam Houston Street in San Benito.

He fled the scene after San Benito Police Department officers responded to a domestic disturbance call.

The search for Garcia involved agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety and Cameron County Sheriff’s Department, as well as San Benito police.

The victim, who according to authorities was shot several times on her body and her face with a shotgun, was transported to a local hospital, where she underwent surgery.

She remains hospitalized in stable condition in the intensive care unit.

Joe Luis Garcia Jr. (Courtesy of the San Benito Police Department)

According to Maurice Converse, the victim’s father, she was the mother of Garcia’s children.

“Please continue to pray for my family and for my daughter, and we thank you for everything you have done for us,” said Converse, who donated blood at yesterday’s blood drive organized by Valley Baptist Medical Center in Harlingen to honor Texas DPS Trooper Moises Sanchez, who remains hospitalized after being shot Saturday night while responding to a car crash in McAllen.

“She went through and got enough blood transfusions to go through your body twice, just yesterday. She’s going to go through surgery for the next two years, from my understanding, just to fix the wounds she received,” he said. “So, we’ll need as much blood as we can get — for anyone that needs blood. We’d like to make sure we have enough blood for them. That’s why I’m here today, for my daughter, for the state trooper, for anyone else that needs blood.”

Garcia was transported to the Cameron County jail, according to Garza.

No further information was made available. Multiple attempts to contact the San Benito Police Department, which was the lead investigative agency, via phone calls, emails and visits to the office were not successful.

Valley Morning Star reporters Fernando del Valle and Alana Hernandez contributed to this report.