Police name suspect in 2014 Palmetto nightclub homicide

Police name suspect in 2014 Palmetto nightclub homicide
Ricardo Garcia Jr. (Source: Palmetto Police Department)

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Investigators in Palmetto have announced a break in an unsolved 2014 homicide and are actively looking for a suspect in the shooting.

Palmetto Police have obtained an arrest warrant for 28-year-old Ricardo Garcia, Jr., of Palmetto in connection with the 2014 shooting outside The Hall nightclub.

On March 22, 2014, Javare Thomas of Sarasota was shot in the head while riding in the backseat of a sedan in Palmetto. He was a passenger in a friend’s car that had just left the nightclub. As Javare and his friends traveled along Haban Boulevard towards U.S. 41, a black pick-up truck pulled up next to their vehicle and the driver fired multiple shots into the sedan. One of the shots hit Javare in the head. His friends rushed him to Manatee Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injury.

Palmetto Police Department announced Wednesday investigators have established that just before the shooting, Garcia got into a fight with another individual at The Hall. Police say Garcia, driving a black pick-up truck, followed the individual as he drove from The Hall, in the direction of Haban Boulevard.

When Garcia caught up with the vehicle the victim was riding in, he mistook it as the vehicle occupied by the person he had just been in a fight with. Garcia fired into the misidentified vehicle, striking Javare Thomas. Javare would have been 34 years old next month.

Detectives from the Palmetto Police Department, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, and the United States Marshall’s Service are actively looking for Garcia.

When arrested, he will be charged with first-degree murder. Palmetto investigators would still like to talk to anyone with any additional information about this case. Persons with information about the case or with information about Ricardo Garcia, Jr’s whereabouts are urged to call the Palmetto Police Department at 941-721-2000 or Detective Joe Rogers at 941-920-3849.

Persons with information about this case or Garcia’s whereabouts may also contact the Manatee County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-634-TIPS (8477) or at manateecrimestoppers.com. 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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