EPHRATA — The man accused of allegedly shooting and killing 22-year-old Juan Jesus Garcia at a Moses Lake convenience store made his first appearance in Grant County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon.
Anthony R. Vasquez, 23, is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. His bail remains at $1 million.
Vasquez’s arraignment was continued to next Monday, but Prosecutor Angus Lee stated the Grant County Department of Public Defense may need more time to find an attorney that didn’t have a conflict with the case.
Vasquez was caught Saturday at a Spokane home after the house was surrounded by law enforcement. He attempted to flee out of the back door, but was soon caught by SWAT team members.
Grant County deputies were dispatched to the Airport Grocery Mart on Patton Boulevard in response to a shooting. Law enforcement contacted a female who was with the victim at the time of the shooting.
After she and Garcia picked up their son they stopped at the grocery mart so Garcia could buy some cigarettes, according to the police report. When Garcia returned to the vehicle she reportedly heard him say “go babe” before Vasquez allegedly approached the passenger side of the vehicle and shot Garcia.
The female told police she saw Vasquez run to a blue pickup truck with a canopy and drive away heading north on Patton Boulevard.
According to court documents, law enforcement showed the female a photo montage and within seconds she was able to identify Vasquez.
Video surveillance from the Airport Grocery Mart reportedly shows a single male approach the side of the victim’s vehicle. The male points what appears to be a firearm at the passenger side window and shoots before running out of view.
The suspect’s vehicle was located by law enforcement unoccupied in the Ponderosa Trailer Park. While seizing the vehicle, the detective noticed a cellphone visible from under one of the seats. Investigators were able to verify the cellphone matched Vasquez’s phone number,
Manzo was taken to the Moses Lake Police Department after it was learned that the suspect’s pickup truck was his grandfather’s and it had been reported stolen earlier in the day.
According to the police report, Manzo discussed his grandfather’s pickup being stolen, but asked for his attorney shortly after the interview began.
A female who was reportedly with Vasquez and Manzo at the time of the shooting also spoke with law enforcement. She said she was with Vasquez when a man she didn’t recognize picked them up. Vasquez indicated he wanted to buy some cigarettes and they drove to the Airport Grocery Mart and parked on the side of the road.
According to her statement, Vasquez left the vehicle and shortly after she heard a gunshot. Vasquez allegedly ran back to the pickup and jumped in yelling for Manzo to get out of there. Vasquez allegedly jumped out of the vehicle on Cochran Road while the female and Manzo continued to the trailer park.
The female reportedly told sheriff’s deputies that she saw Manzo throw the shotgun into a shed before she ran away. Law enforcement was unable to find the shotgun inside the shed or at a trailer nearby. According to court documents, deputies provided a photo montage and the female was able to identify Manzo as the driver within seconds.
Manzo was arrested while working at a Moses Lake fast food restaurant and transported to Grant County Sheriff’s Office Maximum Security Facility and booked for first-degree murder.