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Accused Starbucks shooter appears in Las Vegas court

A 34-year-old man accused of fatally shooting a southwest valley Starbucks customer appeared in court Wednesday to face murder and other charges.

Pedro Jose Garcia, a five-time felon, is being held without bail. He also faces one count each of robbery with a deadly weapon, burglary with a deadly weapon and discharging a gun into an occupied structure.

In court, Deputy Public Defender Edward Kane said he needed time to verify whether his office had a conflict in representing Garcia.

The shooting appeared to be a random act and Garcia did not know the victim, 41-year-old Aleksandr Khutsishvili of Las Vegas, according to Metro.

Garcia quarreled with another man at the coffee shop after his bank card was declined at the drive-thru window, police said.

The suspect told detectives he saw a man in Starbucks “who looked like he had something,” and that man was shot by an “unknown person,” a police report said.

But Garcia may have given a different version of events to a 911 operator moments after the shooting.

According to the police report, a man who identified himself as Pedro Garcia told an operator that he had just shot a man inside the coffee shop. That caller also said the man who was shot appeared to be reaching for something.

The 911 operator heard the man who was shot moaning in the background during the 11:35 a.m. call, the report stated.

While the operator tried to get more information, the caller was heard saying, “Go for it, Dog, I’m not gonna tell you again, go for it; play cowboy with me, Dog,” according to the report.

The dispatch operator told the man to put down the gun and turn himself in to the police outside. A Metro spokeswoman said the man told officers there was an explosive device in a backpack inside the store, leading to a SWAT standoff and the evacuation of nearby businesses before police could enter the coffee shop.

There was no such device. Khutsishvili died of a gunshot wound to the chest at Spring Valley Hospital Medical Center at 12:49 p.m.

Several witnesses pointed to Garcia for the shooting, according to his arrest record.

The handgun police recovered at the scene had been fired three times, but the last round jammed. A records check on the gun showed it was not registered or stolen, the police report said.

Garcia was convicted of possession of a stolen vehicle in 2001. He was convicted on federal charges for drugs and weapons in 2009, court records show.

A Federal Bureau of Prisons search showed Garcia was released from prison in November.

He is due back in court Friday.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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