Trinidad Garcia of Forest Lake was convicted on Feb. 1 of illegal possession of a firearm and a drive-by shooting that occurred on Interstate 35 in Wyoming in 2019. According to the criminal complaint, on Friday, March 1, the Minnesota State Patrol and Wyoming Police Department responded to calls of shots fired toward a white Ford F-150, driven by a person unnamed in the complaint, coming from a dark-colored BMW while traveling northbound on I-35 near Wyoming. After the incident, a bullet hole was spotted in the truck’s passenger door, which had penetrated the door. According to the complaint, the driver of the truck did not need medical attention. The driver of the truck stated he was driving home from work, and that traffic was moving slowly due to snowy weather. The driver stated as he drove by a blue vehicle, which was driving in the right lane, he heard a pop, and at that moment something hit his door and something hit him. The driver of the truck stated the blue vehicle sped past him, started driving erratically, lost control and went into the ditch. He stated there had not been any type of interaction between him and the blue vehicle before the shooting, thus appearing random. 

A trooper, who had been parked on the shoulder of the road, heard the complaint over the radio and saw in his rearview mirror the suspected vehicle crash into the center ditch just behind his patrol car, as roads were covered in snow and ice. The trooper and Wyoming Police Sgt. Brian Rod approached the BMW with weapons drawn. Trooper Joseph Zafke opened the driver’s door and asked the suspect, later identified as Trinidad Garcia, where the gun was located, which Garcia replied in his sweatshirt pocket. A gun, later identified as stolen from Inver Grove Heights in November 2018, was found in his pocket with four rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber. Garcia was previously convicted of a second-degree assault in Ramsey County in 2012 and a third-degree assault in Dakota County in 2018, making Garcia ineligible to possess firearms.

Also found in the BMW was a shoebox containing more than $11,000 in cash. Garcia stated he was headed for Canada. 

Garcia was sentenced to 10 years for the drive-by shooting and 5 years for the illegal possession of a firearm, served concurrently, with 703 days credited for time already served.

Hannah Davis is the Area Editor at the Forest Lake Times. You can contact her at hannah.davis@ecm-inc.com or (763)233-0709

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