M. Aszkenazy /SFVS

It was well over a month – a long wait for family and friends to be able to say their goodbyes. But, it took that long for the coroner to release the body of Albert Garcia, a 58-year-old life long local resident who was shot and killed in his apartment by San Fernando police officers Sunday, Oct. 8, in the 100 block of Harding Avenue.

Services were held on Saturday, Nov. 18 in San Fernando. Garcia’s coffin was draped with the American flag with his army uniform next to it. The chapel was decorated with red, white and blue flowers.

The priest who officiated the service said it was “Ok to ask questions,” which sounded like a reference to the many questions Garcia’s family wants answered. They want to know why police had to respond so aggressively by using a ramming bar to break down his apartment door and shoot him rather than bring in someone who could help him.

Police were informed that Garcia was a veteran suffering with PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder. His family would like to know why someone experienced with Garcia’s condition and mental state couldn’t have been brought in to try to de-escalate the situation rather than have police so quick to fire their weapons?

They want to know what happened that morning to cause Garcia to act out ? Neighbors reported hearing him yelling and fighting with his girlfriend to the apartment manager who called police.

The circumstances are still being looked at said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza, whose Homicide Bureau team is investigating the shooting.

San Fernando police officers were called to Garcia’s apartment about 11 a.m. after neighbors reported hearing a woman screaming from inside the apartment

When the officers arrived, Garcia refused to open the door for them and told them to go away.

The officers forced their way inside the apartment to check on the woman’s safety and encountered Garcia, who police said was armed with a large kitchen knife, according to Mendoza.

“They attempted to spray him with OC [pepper spray] to get him to comply,” Mendoza said, then officers fired their weapons.

Three officers fired at Garcia, who was struck in the body, Mendoza said.

Garcia’s girlfriend was in the shower and wrapped only in a towel was told to leave the apartment and wait in the lobby.

Garcia was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:59 a.m.

Investigators have put a security hold on the autopsy results until the investigation is completed, Mendoza said.

None of the three officers who fired their guns were injured. They were placed on administrative leave which Police Chief Vairo said was routine.  After a few days, the officers were back on duty.