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Warrant: Ballistics links gun found with man in Texas to Pacific Beach murder

Mary Garcia, 65, was shot in the head in Pacific Beach on Sept. 13.

SAN DIEGO — Detectives with the San Diego Police Department are working with authorities in Texas to extradite a man suspected of shooting a woman to death at Pacific Beach last month.

Felipe Villegas is accused of shooting Mary Garcia to death on Sept.
13 on the beach near 700 Reed Avenue, Lt. Adam T. Sharki of the San Diego
Police Department said in a release.

On Wednesday, San Diego police obtained an arrest warrant for Villegas, 27, who is in police custody in Texas.

Officers from the Northern Division of the SDPD responded to a call of a woman who was shot and located her being tended to by bystanders
rendering aid at 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 13.

Garcia had an "apparent gunshot wound to the head," according to an arrest warrant in the case. Garcia, 65, was taken to a hospital by San Diego Fire-Rescue personnel and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Daniel Caldera, 27, the victim's son, was originally taken into police custody as a suspect.

"Caldera matched the physical description and build of the suspect seen on The Beach Cottages Hotel video surveillance arriving and leaving the scene," the arrest warrant said.

Caldera and his mother, Garcia, were homeless and living in a vehicle at the beach, according to the arrest warrant.  

Caldera was booked into jail on suspicion of murder, police said.

Following Caldera's arrest, investigators continued to gather evidence
and interview witnesses, and removed Caldera as a suspect. Detectives
contacted the District Attorney's Office to have all charges against Caldera

He was released from jail on Sept. 20. 

Investigators took closer look at the hotel surveillance video and noticed a red, Jeep Wrangler in the vicinity of the homicide. The vehicle plate was tracked to a woman living with Villegas in an apartment in the 2000 block of Garnet Avenue, the warrant said.

Officers served search warrants on the apartment and the Jeep, recovering bullet casings that matched the type of casings found at the murder scene: 

"A silver 9mm bullet that had the unique '*I* NR 9MM LUGER' imprinted on the casing," according to the arrest warrant.

After killing Garcia, Villegas left San Diego and drove to Texas, police said. He was arrested in Texas on Sept. 16 on robbery and carjacking charges in Pecos and Monahans, Texas, and remains in police custody in Texas.

Following his arrest in Texas, officers searched his "black Infinity G37 with Alabama license plate" and found similar, 9mm ammunition. 

Officers also recovered a "black Sig Sauer 9mm P320 firearm" from inside a Ford pickup Villegas was driving, the arrest warrant alleged.

Ballistic testing on the gun linked it to the murder at Pacific Beach, the arrest warrant said.

"The analysis showed that the Sig Sauer that was registered to Felipe Villegas and, in his possession at the time of this arrest, fired the casing located at the homicide," the arrest warrant concluded.

San Diego Police obtained an arrest warrant for Villegas on Wednesday and are working with Texas authorities to have him extradited to San Diego.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to call
the Homicide Unit at 619-531-2293 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

RELATED: Arrest made after woman was found in Pacific Beach with gunshot wound

WATCH RELATED: Homicide investigation underway in Pacific Beach after woman was found on beach with gunshot wound (September 2022)

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