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Late Thursday, Petaluma police said the man had suffered an apparent gunshot wound to his chest.

Other information remained sketchy Thursday, with authorities withholding numerous key details, including whether the man was armed when he appeared at the trailer door, where deputies "engaged the suspect with their weapons," according to sheriff's officials.

Officers at the scene on Hoff Road had credible information the man was armed and had been involved in violence, authorities said.

Stapleton said he could not release some information because detectives were still determining what happened.

"It was a very complex event. It's going to take us some time ... before we can articulate the precise sequence of events," Stapleton said.

Meanwhile, a man who was with Garcia at the outset of the nearly 20-hour standoff described the initial moments, including his escape from the trailer where, he said, he saw Garcia pull a black rifle from a duffel bag.

Outside, the 43-year-old handyman — who gave only his first name, Victor — encountered a large contingent of heavily armed officers.

"He looked normal," Victor said of Garcia. He said he knew the man's girlfriend, who became a hostage during the standoff before she was let out of the trailer more than 10 hours into the ordeal. "He didn't look like a drug addict or anything like that," Victor said. "I never thought something like that would happen."

Garcia, who also went by the name Marron Garcia according to court records, was wanted on a $150,000 warrant stemming from an arrest in February by Napa police. He had illegal weapons, ammunition and methamphetamine at his Napa home where his two young children lived, Napa police Lt. Gary Pitkin said.

Pitkin and a team of Napa County officers went looking for him, following Garcia's cellphone signal. The trail took them Tuesday to Sonoma Valley and a 5th-wheel vacation trailer parked on property on a bucolic lane in western Kenwood.

Pitkin said Napa officers arrived at about noon and, after surveying the situation, asked the Sonoma County sheriff's SWAT team for help.

During the standoff Garcia talked periodically to a variety of law enforcement negotiators attempting to get him to surrender peacefully.

During their talks, the man claimed to have killed someone and committed other violent felonies, according to sheriff's Lt. Bret Sackett, the Sonoma police chief. The man then became despondent and talked of getting officers to shoot him before he cut off communication.

After about 6 p.m. Wednesday, in an attempt to get him talking again, deputies fired tear gas into the trailer and set off flash-bang blasts, sheriff's officials said.

"It abruptly changed," Stapleton said. "Law enforcement faced a situation that was tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving."

Garcia reportedly responded by shooting a gun multiple times out into the yard. The shots hit at least two law enforcement vehicles and a nearby home, officials said.

Deputies returned fire, according to Stapleton.

More tear gas was fired into the trailer, resulting in the man opening the front door. When the man appeared, deputies fired, Sackett said.

On Wednesday night, Sackett said it was possible the man was holding an assault rifle, but a news release Thursday from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office did not mention whether he was armed at the door.

"Perceiving a threat and fearing for their safety, SWAT team members engaged the suspect with their weapons. The suspect fell to the ground and, after numerous attempts to communicate," the prone man was approached by SWAT team members and a medic, who determined he was dead, Sackett said.

The Sheriff's Office release said it remained unclear whether the man shot himself or died "as a result of his engagement with SWAT personnel."

The trailer caught fire from the tear gas, and the man's body was carried about 50 yards toward Hoff Road so firefighters could extinguish the flames, Stapleton said.

A call to Sackett on Thursday was referred to Petaluma police officials.

An autopsy scheduled for Monday was expected to clarify how the man died.

Sonoma County sheriff's SWAT deputies were the primary officers surrounding the trailer Wednesday evening, aided by Napa County officers. As many as four different SWAT teams were involved in the entire incident, which blocked Hoff Road at Highway 12 and led to the evacuation of the family who own the property where the trailer sat.

The property owner and Victor, who briefly had been in the trailer with Garcia, both said a photo of Garcia on the Crimestoppers website matched the man in the trailer.

"That's the bad guy," the property owner said Thursday, looking at the photo. The man, who spoke on condition that his name be withheld, said he was shown the same photo by law enforcement officers during the standoff.

Garcia arrived at the property Tuesday, accompanied by a young woman and another man.

Stapleton declined to identify the woman or the man who had accompanied the suspect.

The girlfriend was not arrested. "She is not a suspect in our criminal investigation," Stapleton said.

The group of three had gone to the Hoff Road trailer after the girlfriend had called Victor and asked if she could come over, according to Victor.

He said she showed up Tuesday evening with two men he did not know, and he let them stay. A while later they left, but the woman came back within 40 minutes with just the suspect to spend the night.

Victor said Thursday he was in his bedroom talking to his girlfriend on his cellphone when he heard a loud speaker outside ordering someone named "Miguel" to come outside.

Victor said he told his girlfriend something serious was happening, hung up and tossed his cellphone on his bed. He said he asked the suspect, "'Hey, compa, are you the guy they want? Go out there, I don't want any problems, my boss doesn't want any problems.' He said he would get out," Victor said, speaking in Spanish.

As Victor left the trailer, he saw the suspect reach for a rifle in a duffel bag, he said.

A Sonoma County sheriff's press release Thursday said the man residing in the trailer confirmed the suspect had a rifle, handgun and body armor. Victor, however, said he saw only the rifle.

Law enforcement officials were at the scene throughout the day Thursday. Garcia's body remained there, covered by a tarp, until about 1:30 p.m.

Santa Rosa police crime scene technicians collected evidence under the direction of a Petaluma police lieutenant.

Stapleton said Petaluma detectives were interviewing numerous officers and others who were there when the man died, as well as others involved in the lengthy incident.

He said any crimes revealed by the man during the standoff negotiations would be investigated by agencies where they allegedly occurred.

The owner of the property with the trailer was allowed back into his home about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. His 5th-wheel trailer was partially burned.

Neighbors along the rural street Thursday recounted the extraordinary events, starting with a large overnight police presence and, many hours later, a climax that came in a barrage of gunfire, smoke and flames.

"The first gunshot happened at 6:26 p.m. and it was over at 6:41 p.m.," said Heidi Porch, who told of tracking the timing and counting the shots.

"Initially there were three large booms ... then there was 30 seconds and maybe five shots ... then there was more silence, a couple more shots," she said. "At one point, there was a succession of 19 shots. I counted them. They were just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom."

After another brief break, there were more gunshots and a police dog barking, she said.

Neighbor John Flachman said one of the bullets, which he thought to be from the suspect, went through a bedroom window of his home.

Flachman said he and his wife were able to watch much of the final police activity from a different window. He said at one point he could see the suspect's arm coming out of the trailer.

The standoff ended soon after.

"The SWAT team I thought acted professionally. They were trying to talk to him. They were patient," Flachman said.

(Staff Writers Martin Espinoza and Derek Moore contributed to this report. You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com.)

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