SALINAS, Calif. - A Salinas police officer is nearing full recovery from a violent blow to his head that happened on a street he calls home. Officer Daniel Garcia was back to work on Wednesday night and said he's looking to the future. We caught up with Officer Garcia, who was hurt during last week's violent protest on Del Monte Avenue that escalated around police in East Salinas.
Officer Garcia said he and his brother were the first to respond when an innocent bystander was allegedly murdered last Wednesday night. The call came in during a protest against the police department's recent officer-involved shootings.
"I grew up on that street as well as my family. It just happened to be where the victim got shot. I grew up two houses down from there on my dad's side of the family," said Officer Garcia.
Last week's protest was peaceful by day but violent by night. Officer Garcia said it was a scene that hit too close to home.
"A little hectic, given the situation, you know going through the intersection and bottles being thrown and bricks and then actually going to the scene where the victim had been shot," said Officer Garcia.
He and his brother Anthony, also a Salinas police officer, performed CPR on homicide victim Constantino Garcia. Garcia was shot and killed after walking outside to watch all the commotion coming from protestors.
"I've dealt with similar situations but that night was probably one of the, I want to say, stressful events that I've ever gone through," said Officer Garcia.
As they worked to save the victim's life, Officer Garcia was hit in the head by a glass bottle. He said the bottle hit the right side of his head near his temple, which could have been much worse than a mild concussion.
"Frustrating, with everything that was going on over the past two weeks and also for my family," said Officer Garcia.
Officer Garcia continues to patrol the streets of East Salinas. He said what happened to him that night, will stick with him forever.
"Everybody's entitled to their opinions. But I just, you know, hope that everybody does it peacefully and not in the manner that it happened last week," said Officer Garcia.
He's dealt with intimidation on the streets before and plans to continue using his skills to serve and protect in a place he calls home.
"I love my job and I like working the Eastside. So it's just something I'm gonna continues doing," said Officer Garcia.
Officer Garcia said there wasn't an ambulance available at the time he was injured. He said another officer put him in the back of a squad car, to make sure he got the treatment he needed.