After a high-speed chase through two parishes, a man described by law enforcement as one of Acadiana's "most wanted" fugitives has been arrested.
Gavin Garnica, 20, of Abbeville, was arrested Wednesday after authorities chased him through Lafayette Parish and into Vermilion Parish.
At a press conference yesterday, Vermilion Parish Sheriff's spokesman Eddie Langlinais said the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office, along with Lafayette Sheriff’s Office, Lafayette Police Department, Louisiana State Police, Abbeville Police Department, and the Attorney General’s office were all involved.
According to Langlinais, Garnica's capture was the result of multiple agencies collaborating their efforts on an extensive fugitive search over the past several months.
Because Garnica had warrants from several parishes, Lafayette law enforcement began searching there. When they first tried to arrest him, he attempted to evade the arrest by fleeing through Lafayette Parish and into Vermilion Parish, Langlinais said.
“He is known to be a violent individual with a propensity to put law enforcement and the innocent public at risk," Langlinais said. “Garnica has a past history of escape from custody, aggravated flight from law enforcement and a complete disregard for the public’s safety, all of which creates a high-risk apprehension for law enforcement and threatens public safety.”
Langlinais said a lot of planning was needed, because Garnica knew police were after him. That can cause "the fugitive to react with a nothing to lose type mentality which has the potential to escalate rapidly putting the offender, officers and the public’s safety at risk. Yesterday’s mission was a successful one, and the favorable outcome gives credit to the united effort of the many agencies involved and to the law enforcement officers with boots on the ground seeing it through to the end," he said.
The chase ended when the Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office Task Force was able to box Garnica in at a location in Abbeville by setting up a perimeter of police, including Lafayette and Vermilion deputies and Abbeville Police, with air support from Louisiana State Police.
“You can see from the litany of criminal charges, Garnica’s capture was a priority not only for our agency, but several surrounding agencies as well," Langlinais said.
Here are the charges on which Garnica was booked, broken down by agency.
*Each charge of "FTA" means that he allegedly failed to appear in court in a case involving the charge that follows. For instance, FTA for simple assault means he was supposed to be in court for a previous arrest on a simple assault charge, but he didn't show up and the court issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Office and Abbeville police Department:
· FTA Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle (2 counts), Simple Burglary, Intimidating a Witness, Simple Assault
· FTA Battery of a Dating Partner, False Imprisonment
· FTA Simple Escape
· Felony FTA Resisting Arrest, Aggravated Flight, Reckless Operation, Vehicular Negligent Injuring
· Felony FTA PWITD Marijuana, Possession of a Firearm in the Presence of CDS
· Felony FTA Attempted 1st Degree Murder, Illegal use of Dangerous Instrumentalities, Possession of a Firearm in a Firearm Free Zone
· Felony FTA PWITD Marijuana
- Possession with the Intent to Distribute Marijuana
- Possession with the Intent to Distribute Fentanyl
- Proceeds from Drug Offenses
- Possession of a Schedule II narcotic
- Taking Contraband Into a Penal Facility
Lafayette Police Department:
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Battery of a Dating Partner
- Resisting Arrest by Flight
- Unauthorized Entry of Business Place (2 counts)
- Contempt for Possession of Firearm in the Presence of CDS
- Possession of a Stolen Firearm
- PWITD Marijuana
- Resisting Arrest
· Felony FTA Illegal use of Weapons or Dangerous Instrumentalities, and Assault by Drive-by Shooting