Man sentenced to 17 years for shootout that injured 10-year-old girl

Mario Garza
Mario Garza Boise

District Judge Davis F. VanderVelde sentenced Mario Garza on Tuesday to 17 years in prison for his role in shootout that ended with a 10-year-old girl accidentally being shot.

Garza, 20, was arrested in June 2016 on a felony warrant in connection with a gang-related shooting in the parking lot of a Walmart during the annual God and Country Family Festival at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa.

According to police, Garza and another man, Ezri Garcia, began arguing in the parking lot when both men pulled out guns and started shooting at each other. A bullet from one of the guns struck an nearby 10-year-old girl in the shoulder while she was gathered with her family and hundreds of other people to watch the fireworks from the festival.

VanderVelde sentenced Garza, of Nampa, for aggravated assault and felony riot, and he could be eligible for parole after six years are served.

Garcia was sentenced in February to 19 years in prison with seven years fixed for his role in the shooting.

VanderVelde also ordered Garza to have no contact with the victim or her family for the duration of the sentence. Garza was also ordered to pay a $5,000 civil penalty as well as court costs.

“My office and our law enforcement partners in Canyon County have zero tolerance for gang violence, so there is no doubt that Mr. Garza belongs behind bars,” said Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor in a news release. “Hopefully this sends a message that gangs and gang violence will not be tolerated in our community.”