Deputy sustains no serious injuries
Two people were pronounced dead late in the afternoon of Aug. 26 following a report of a possible battery at a home in the 800 block of East Seminole Drive in Venice, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has reported.
Additionally, a deputy responding to the scene was the victim of an aggravated assault, a news release says, and an animal at the residence was found in critical condition.
The incident remains under investigation, the release adds.
Deputies were notified about the potential battery just after 5 p.m. on Aug. 26, the release notes. The first deputy to arrive “was approached by a suspect armed with a knife, who was bleeding profusely from his torso area,” the release says. The deputy began making verbal commands, instructing the suspect to drop the knife, the release continues. “The suspect then threw the knife at the deputy and charged toward him. The deputy utilized non-lethal force” to bring the suspect to the ground, utilizing the butt of his agency-issued firearm to defend himself during the attack, the release says.
“Once the suspect eventually complied, deputies entered the residence to find a female suffering from several stab wounds,” the release points out. When paramedics arrived, lifesaving measures were attempted on both the suspect and the female, the release adds. However, “both were pronounced deceased.” Additionally, an animal within the home was discovered to have sustained several stab wounds, the release says.
The deputy who was confronted by the suspect was transported to the hospital, the release adds, but the deputy did not sustain any serious injuries. “As the victim of an aggravated assault, the deputy’s identity is not being released at this time,” the release adds.
The suspect has been identified as Eduardo Lopez Garcia, 48. He was arrested on Aug. 24 on charges of Domestic Battery and Obstructing Justice, the Sheriff’s Office news release says. He was released on bond the next day, the release notes.
Total bond was set at $3,500, the Sheriff’s Office’s Corrections Division records show.
The female victim has been identified, as well, the release says. However, “her family has opted into privacy rights afforded by Marsy’s Law. For that reason, her identify is being withheld at this time,” the release adds.
Based on the preliminary investigation, including witness statements from neighbors — and because no known additional suspects or victims were involved in this incident — detectives believe both deaths were the result of a murder-suicide plan, the release explains.
As with all death investigations, the release adds, the official causes of death will be determined and released by the District 12 Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Aug. 24 incident
The Probable Cause Affidavit regarding the Aug. 24 incident says that the victim told officers that she and Garcia “had been in a verbal and physical alteration the evening before,” Aug. 23, between 6 and 8 p.m. The victim added that she and Garcia were “going through a tough time, the affidavit adds.
During the altercation, the victim said that Garcia “hit her several times with his fists on the head, face and chest area, which caused some swelling, marks and bruises. The victim said she had tried to call 911 for help, but [Garcia] had taken her phone away” to prevent her from dialing the number, the affidavit explains.
After the victim was able to make it to work, the affidavit continues, she called 911 to report the battery. About the same time, the affidavit says, Garcia had shown up at her place of work “and wanted to see her in person …” The victim’s co-workers “refused to let him in,” the affidavit notes. Then Garcia returned the victim’s phone, “which he had damaged,” the affidavit adds.
Garcia left the place of business before an officer arrived, the affidavit points out. Therefore, the officer called Garcia and asked Garcia to return, so the officer could hear his side of the alleged battery.
Because Garcia speaks Spanish, the affidavit explains, a Sarasota Police Department officer — who first responded to the 911 call — translated for the responding deputy, so the deputy could take Garcia’s statement. The translating officer also read Garcia his Miranda warnings in Spanish, the affidavit notes.
Garcia told the officers that, during the altercations, he had “grabbed the victim” and shaken her, the affidavit says. He added that he did not know how she “received her marks and bruises,” the affidavit points out.
However, the affidavit continues, “Based upon visible marks on the victim’s face” and chest, plus pain she told the officers she was feeling as a result of the injury to her head, the officer who wrote the report explained that he believed that Garcia had committed Domestic Battery and obstructed justice “by keeping the victim from calling 911 on her cell phone …”
Garcia was arrested on North Lime Avenue in Sarasota, the report adds. That occurred at 11:28 a.m. on Aug. 24.