A 20-year-old gang member who was a suspect in a 2010 homicide learned that two wrongs don’t make a right and he is behind bars again, after Merced police reported seeing him with a stolen handgun.
On Sunday, Marco Antonio Garibay was arrested after a short foot chase by officers in South Merced, during which authorities say he was seen tossing away the gun.
Before Sunday’s incident, according to the report, Garibay’s name was familiar to law enforcement because of his connection to the July 30, 2010, shooting death of 52-year-old Charles Johnson. He served a short stint in jail for that, after pleading no contest to a reduced charge.
Merced police said that during Sunday’s encounter with Garibay, Merced police responded to the area of Q and Sixth streets at 2:19 a.m. after receiving a report of three shots fired, according to Lt. Bimley West. When officers arrived they saw Garibay with an unidentified man and both took off running.
The unidentified man escaped, but an officer ran after Garibay. According to the report, as Garibay was running, he tossed away a .30-caliber, semi-automatic handgun.
After a pursuit, police captured Garibay in the 1200 block of West First Street. Methamphetamine was found in his pants pocket, police said and officers recovered the unloaded gun and learned it had been reported stolen in Santa Clara County. There were no known victims from the gunfire.
Garibay was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, possessing a stolen firearm, illegally carrying a concealed weapon, being a gang member, carrying a firearm, possessing stolen property and gang enhancements. He is being held in lieu of $275,000 bail.
Two years ago, Garibay and Carlos Castillo, 19, were arrested in the shooting death of 52-year-old Charles Johnson on East Childs Avenue near Highway 99.
Garibay pleaded no contest in February to being an accessory in Johnson’s death. As part of the plea agreement with prosecutors, he was sentenced to three years in prison. Still, he was released this year with credit for time served. Castillo, the shooter, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest to voluntary manslaughter.
Johnson was shot four times and died at a hospital. Under questioning, police say Castillo claimed he and Garibay were approached by the victim, who’d asked them for cigarettes. Castillo said he told the victim they didn’t have any.
According to the report, Castillo claimed Johnson then became agitated, calling the pair “dirty and stingy Mexicans.”
According to Castillo, Johnson began to approach them, putting his hand in his pocket as if he were going to reach for a weapon and Castillo said he told Johnson to back off, but he continued to approach, so at that point, Castillo said he pulled out a handgun and fired.
According to Johnson’s family members, Castillos’s comments about the victims are untrue, pointing out that some of his children have Hispanic origins.
Meanwhile Garibay denied having anything to do with the shooting, but gave no answer as to why a wallet with his id and social security card were found at the scene.
Merced Sun-Star: 2010 Merced Homicide Suspect Arrested on Gun Charges