Location: Ballam and Filbert, Exeter/ 520 South Kaweah Ave. Exeter

Incident Date: 12-16-15

Case Number: 18-16033

City: Exeter

Posted by: Media Relations

Farm Worker Shot Minutes Before Armed Robbery in Exeter, Deputies Believe They're Connected


Tulare County Sheriffs's Office Deputies and Exeter Police are investigating a shooting and armed robbery in Exeter, they believe, are connected. 

The shooting happened just after 1 p.m. December 16, 2018 in the area of Ballam and Filbert in Exeter. A farm worker told Deputies he was on a ladder picking fruit when he heard a car slam on its brakes. He then heard three or four gunshots. As he fell off the ladder, he noticed the ladder was being hit by gunfire. And when he landed on the ground, he realized he had also been shot in the chest. 

He was taken to a local hospital, where he is being treated.

Shortly after the shooting, two men walked into the "AA Gas and Grub" at 520 South Kaweah Ave. in Exeter, demanded money from the clerk and then fired three shots at the ceiling. No one was hurt, but the suspects got away with more than $2,000.

Deputies were able to track down surveillance video of the area where the shooting, as well as the robbery, took place and determined the car involved in both incidents was the same one. They were also able to identify the driver of the vehicle as one of the armed robbers at the gas station. Deputies believe the shots were fired at the farm worker to serve as a distraction to law enforcement before heading over to rob the gas station.

Deputies are searching for 36-year-old Gustavo Garcia, the man seen in surveillance video at the gas station, as well as behind the wheel of the car used in the shooting. They are also looking for the Silver Honda PIlot seen on surveillance video in both crimes. 

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to call the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Camacho or Detective Burns at (559)733-6218. Or send anonymous information by text or email to TCSO@tipnow.com or call (559) 725-4194.