Shimshaw Avenue in Sylmar is a street where people have felt safe, a “good spot to raise a family.” The wide street lined with tract homes is a short distance from Hubbard Elementary School, El Cariso Park and Mission College. It’s been a street where residents have felt comfortable to give their kids a little freedom to play outside.
But, that sense of security was rattled on Thursday night, Jan. 11, when gunshots rang out. One neighbor having a late night dinner, stepped outside to see what was going on, but quickly returned to tell his wife, “Our neighbor has been shot.”
The neighbors were shocked to learn that Gregory Baltazar-Garcia, 31 was gunned down when he answered a knock at his door and stepped outside to his porch and died in front of his house. The quiet street became a crime scene with yellow police tape and news cameras.
As Baltazar-Garcia’s family is struggling to ask, “Why?,” police are asking for the public’s help to find two men.
“Two unidentified males knocked on the front door of the residence … (and) Baltazar-Garcia answered the door and began arguing with those individuals,’’ according to the LAPD.
“One of the male suspects shot Baltazar-Garcia numerous times and fled the location with his associate,’’ police said. “Neither of the male suspects have been identified. This appears to be an isolated incident, and the victim most likely knew the suspects.’’
Baltazar-Garcia lived at the home with his extended family and his family is struggling to understand what the possible motive was to harm him.
“He was an amazing brother, son, father, nephew, cousin had his life unexpectedly taken. He was a great man who had a beautiful soul and was always nice to everyone,” Nayeli Baltazar, the victims sister wrote.
She said she was “heartbroken,” and along with friends and other family members, she turned to social media to plea for someone to come forward with information.
“We are so deeply hurt by the loss of my brother. He would offer any type of support when someone would need it. He was a young father, an amazing barber and a very talented man.”
Since the shooting, many are reluctant to provide their names but one neighbor told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol that she has instructed her kids not to answer the door and she moved their sleeping area toward the back of her home.
The shooting on Shimshaw Ave., has made them more mindful that tragedy can strike anywhere and can be so brazen that it can come from a knock on the door. They are keeping a sharper eye out for each other and being more aware.
“We are more cautious about who knocks on our door and who we answer it for. A lot of us were nervous but now we can try to look out for one another. We as a community will not let a tragedy put us into fear.”
She said many who live in the neighborhood use an app called nextdoor for the Sylmar area that reports crimes. She said she and other neighbors plan on attending the services for Baltazar-Garcia and want to offer whatever support they can to the grieving family.
“They are trying to be strong, but they are devastated,” she said. Everyone, his family and those of us who live here want to understand, we need to know, “Why?”
Funeral services will be held for Baltazar-Garcia this week. A go fund me page has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses. www.gofundme.com/funeral-for-gregorio-garcia.
No descriptions have been released of the suspects. Anyone with information on the crime was urged to call (818) 374-1941, or (877) LAPD-247.