The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Shooting victim served as US Army paratrooper


July 31, 2019

Courtesy photo

Derek Garcia with Auggie, a family dog.

PORTALES — He had barely turned 24 this month, but Derek Garcia had already served his country and traveled the world before returning to his hometown.

Garcia, the eldest of six children, graduated Dora High School in 2014 and completed 38 career jumps as a U.S. Army paratrooper before receiving an honorable discharge in November 2018 and returning “to make his life in his hometown,” according to his mother.

Annmarie Garcia told The News this weekend that she hopes justice is served for the shooting death of her son, who was killed during a house party Saturday morning just outside Portales. Two others were injured and the shooter told police he acted in self-defense.

The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating and no charges had been filed Tuesday.

Meanwhile, social media was filled with memories and tributes regarding Derek Garcia. Many came from his “family” of fellow paratroopers.

Garcia “participated in numerous missions while stationed overseas, including Operation Enduring Freedom in Ukraine,” his mother wrote in a Facebook post. During his time in the Army he served in the 82nd Airborne of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 173rd Airborne of Vicenza, Italy.

After returning home from the military, Garcia would regale company with stories of his travels. He was “very laid back” and unselfconscious, said his friend Quintin Carmichael.

“He was kind of a pretty boy,” said Carmichael, who was shot in the leg during Saturday’s incident. “After he got out of the military he grew out his hair and stuff and would always flick it around.”

Courtesy photo

Garcia completed 38 career jumps as a U.S. Army paratrooper before receiving an honorable discharge in November.

Others remember Garcia from the VFW Voice of Democracy contest, which he won in 2013 at the district, regional and state levels while in high school. During his Dora High years Garcia won other speech and essay contests, played football and ran track and was a member of the Future Farmers of America and Business Professional Association.

In high school Garcia worked for various ranches and was recently making his career as a lab tech with the Dairy Farmers of America in Portales, his mother said.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Central Christian Church in Portales.

Garcia will be buried at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas.

Carmichael told The News that “Derek deserved better” and was a good friend and older sibling.

“He was a good man that served his country,” Carmichael said. “If you needed him he was there, and he had his brothers’ back no matter what. He was very loyal to his brothers.”


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