Friends and family knew Oscar Garcia as a hard-working man.
Whether he was making sandwiches at a downtown D.C. deli, working one of two cleaning jobs or playing music as a DJ on weekends, it was all for his wife and children.
“He didn’t have time to do anything else other than work,” said Soonyoung Yoon, Garcia’s former boss. “Every chance he got, he tried to earn money to support his family.”
On Aug. 17, Garcia had just finished his cleaning job before midnight and pulled in to the driveway of his Seat Pleasant home when someone came up on him while he was sitting in his dark-colored Dodge Dart.
“He was arriving home from his second job when he was approached and shot,” said Capt. Brian Reilly, head of the Prince George’s County homicide unit.
The gunman fled, and the father of five died several hours later at a hospital.
On Thursday, police released a composite sketch in the case, hoping that it will lead detectives to the person who killed Garcia, 37.
Garcia’s wife and children were inside the home that the family has owned for several years when the shooting occurred, and there was no indication that anyone tried to enter the house, Reilly said.
Police said that they are trying to determine a motive in the case but that they do not think that Garcia was personally targeted.
“Our detectives are working hard to find a suspect who would be so brazen as to shoot this hard-working man as he was coming home from work,” said Christina Cotterman, a police spokeswoman.
A funeral for the Salvadoran native will be held Friday evening in the District. Garcia’s loved ones and those who worked with him say he will be remembered as a fun-loving, caring man who made good on many ambitions during his roughly 15 years in this country.
Garcia worked as a supervisor for two cleaning companies and until recently was a sandwich maker at Jack’s Famous Deli on Third Street NW. Yoon said Garcia had been with the deli for 14 years before leaving.
“He was a very bright young man, and all my customers loved him,” Yoon said. “He was very compassionate. He was a family man.”
Yoon said Garcia rarely missed a day of work. And when a problem cropped up in the deli, Garcia was able to fix it.
Yoon, who attended Garcia’s wedding and celebrated when his children were born, said he was like family. Garcia’s wife still works at the deli, which is where the couple met 13 years ago, Yoon said.
Yoon has set up donation boxes at the deli and a GoFundMe account hoping to help Garcia’s family with funeral expenses.
“It’s really, really hard for us,” Yoon said. “Everyone here, we all cried.”
Luis Maravilla grew up in El Salvador with Garcia, and they both immigrated to the United States, practically becoming family. The two lived and worked together when Garcia first arrived in this country.
Garcia was always working to “make his life a little bit better all the time,” always looking to move “up and up and up,” Maravilla said.
Although Maravilla had come to the United States a few years ahead of Garcia, it was Garcia who quickly became the supervisor of a cleaning company and eventually Maravilla’s boss.
“He was looking at something more all the time,” Maravilla said. “He did not sit still. He tried and he was making the American Dream.”
Maravilla said the loss of his friend is difficult. When he thinks of Garcia, he recalls a man who would laugh even in bad circumstances and take good care of his family here and in El Salvador.
“I want to remember him how he was,” Maravilla said. “I love him, and he loved everybody.”
Police are asking anyone who saw anything suspicious or out of place the night of Garcia’s death to contact detectives.
A reward of up to $25,000 is available for information leading to an arrest and indictment. Anyone with information can call 301-772-4925 or, to remain anonymous, 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).