SAN FRANCISCO—On March 28, 2024, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office disclosed a conviction of Daniel Garcia, 42, of Concord, after a trial by jury for detonating explosive devices and leading police on a high-speed chase from San Francisco to the East Bay.  He was convicted of three counts of detonating an explosive device with intent to injure, (PC 18740), four counts of possession of an explosive device (PC 18710) and one count of evading an officer with willful disregard for people or property (VC2800.2(a)).

According to testimony and other evidence presented at trial, on October 29, 2023, Garcia drove from his home in Concord to San Francisco and attended the 5 p.m. mass at St. Peter and Paul Cathedral.  During mass, he confronted a parishioner and accused him of ripping his shorts and demanded $50 from the parishioner.  The parishioner, who was kneeling in prayer, attempted to ignore Garcia who punched him twice on the side of head, knocking him unconscious.

The defendant fled the church and went to his car followed by parishioners who called 911.  Garcia got in his car and drove away as authorities arrived.  Two police cars, with three total officers inside, tried to pull over the defendant for further investigation. Instead of complying, Garcia slowed down and tossed a pipe bomb strapped to a 40-ounce bottle of gasoline out of his window into the path of the officers.  He sped away and the pipe bomb exploded, engulfing a police vehicle in a fireball.

The San Francisco Police Department chased Garcia as he sped through city streets, running stop signs, red lights, and driving on road shoulders toward the Bay Bridge. At the intersection of 8th Street and Mission Street, Garcia threw a second pipe bomb strapped to a 40-ounce bottle of gasoline which again exploded.

The pursuit continued onto the Bay Bridge and into the East Bay.  The chase included three SFPD vehicles, three California Highway Patrol vehicles, and a helicopter. Garcia failed to navigate a turn in Martinez and blew out his tire, but continued driving until the wheel literally fell off at which point he finally pulled over and surrendered.  A third pipe bomb strapped to a 40 oz. bottle of gasoline was found in his vehicle.

Garcia noted he was trying to get home to Concord to barricade himself inside with the last bomb and quipped to the officers “How many GTA stars do you think I had?” which is a reference to the video game Grand Theft Auto where you earn stars based on your threat level and how many police officers are chasing you.

The defendant’s home in Concord was subsequently searched, and all of the materials used to make the pipe bombs were located there including four additional 40-ounce bottles filled with gasoline. Garcia admitted on the stand he built the three bombs in his home the three days prior to using them in San Francisco.

The case against Garcia was successfully prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Edward Mario, with assistance from District Attorney Investigator Gino Guerrero, paralegals Melissa Cruz, David Ma, and Jennifer Java and Victim Advocate Tony Leung who worked closely with the victims throughout the pendency of this case.  Prosecutors were able to develop a strong case against Mr. Garcia because of the outstanding investigation of the San Francisco Police Department’s Arson Task Force.

“Mr. Garcia time and again placed civilians and law enforcement in danger by choosing to construct dangerous explosive devices, transport them to San Francisco, and then explode them on city streets, not to mention assaulting an innocent man while he prayed in church,” said Assistant District Attorney Edward Mario.  “Mr. Garcia has shown no remorse for his actions but the jury’s verdict ensures that he will face accountability for his unprompted violent and reckless behavior.”

Garcia is currently in custody pending sentencing.  Prior to sentencing, the court will hear and rule on an outstanding allegation that he committed these offenses while on bail for another felony matter in another county.  He faces up to fourteen years in state prison for his crimes.   Sentencing is scheduled for April 23, 2024.