YUBA CITY (CBS13) — A Yuba City man is clinging to life at the UC Davis Medical Center after his family says he was shot point-blank in the head while helping a woman in need on Friday.
Elias Garibay was eating dinner Friday at Tortilleria Flores in Yuba City when a woman came in holding a toddler while seeking help from her abusive partner.
Garibay stepped in to help and was allegedly shot in the head by the woman’s partner.
“We want justice for Eli and also for all of you to know Eli is a hero,” Rita Alvarez, a family friend, said. “What Eli did here was something very heroic that you don’t see nowadays.”
Family vigils continued through Sunday at the hospital.
“My brother is a sweet person, has a big heart,” said Carmen Harris, Elis’ sister. “He’ll give his jacket off his back to help you.”
Harris struggled to talk about her 45-year-old brother, who is now fighting his life at the UC Davis Med Center. After successful surgery, Garibay remains in critical but stable condition.
“We’re going to just keep praying and hoping he pulls through this and we ask for everybody’s prayers,” Delores Terry, another family friend, said.
The suspect in the shooting, 35-year-old Victor Esquivel, was headed to Mexico but was caught in Santa Clarita by California Highway Patrol units at around 1 a.m on Saturday, according to authorities. A CHP officer spotted Esquivel’s car on southbound Interstate 5 near Santa Clarita. Esquivel tried to run after stopping his car on the freeway and was taken into custody with the help of LAPD, they say.
The news did little to comfort Carmen Harris.
“I’m happy he got arrested, but it won’t bring back my brother the way he was before,” Harris said.
To help with mounting medical bills, the family started a Go Fund Me for Garibay — a man they say would have helped anyone in that situation.
“Eli did the unknown nowadays,” Alvarez said. “He came out and he did what he felt was right and that was to protect a mother and a child.”
Esquivel is being extradited back to Sutter County facing charges of attempted murder. Police are still investigating the circumstances of the shooting.