Gang member sentenced to prison for 2020 drive-by shooting

Published on September 01, 2021

Mathais Valencia-Garza.jpg

GREELEY, Colo. (Weld County D.A.) – A 19-year-old man will spend the next two decades behind bars for shooting into a Greeley home and severely injuring a male in October of last year.

During a sentencing hearing Monday morning, a Weld County District Court Judge Marcelo Kopkow sentenced Mathais Valencia-Garza, who is a tracked Greeley gang member, to 22 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

On October 22, 2020, Greeley police responded to reports of a shooting at a residence.

When police arrived, they found a 20-year-old male who had been shot in his leg while playing video games inside the home. Three other people were inside the home during the time of the shooting, but no one else was injured.

During the investigation, police learned that Valencia-Garza shot at the home seven times, after he had sold cocaine to a male earlier in the night, and was paid with a fake $100 bill.  

“To take revenge, the defendant goes to this home in search of the person who ripped him off, and ends up firing into the wrong house all together,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Anthony Perea said during the sentencing hearing. “The reckless disregard to human life is just astonishing to me. We could have been here today for a homicide. This defendant was one step, one moment, one second away from serving a life sentence.”

In June, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree assault. The parties stipulated to a range of 15 to 25 years in DOC. He also pleaded guilty to one count of menacing that stemmed from an incident prior to the shooting. The parties stipulated to a concurrent three year DOC sentence.

While in the Weld County Jail awaiting his sentencing hearing for those two cases, the defendant spit in a jail deputy’s face in July, and was charged with one count of second-degree assault and one count of obstructing government operations. He was sentenced to six years concurrent in DOC.

“I’m not sure there’s anything else more disrespectful than someone spitting in another human’s face, especially a peace officer’s face,” CDDA Perea said. “This defendant is only 19 years old, and already has proved to us that he has zero respect for human life or community safety.”

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