Man shot and killed days after completing custom bike for daughter

Joe Garcia with his son Adam and daughter Isabel. The father-of-three was fatally shot in southeast Albuquerque and the case remains unsolved. (Courtesy of the family)

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Bike Coop owner Amanda Batty met Joe Garcia in 2020 when he picked up a Strider for her 5-year-old son. He told her that bikes “transformed her childhood” and that he wanted to pass that on to his three children.

Then it was a bike for her daughter, Isabel, and Garcia spent the last year paying for it piece by piece, painting the frame alongside her daughter.

Batty said the process was “another kind of special.”

Joe Garcia’s daughter, Isabel, and the custom bike he saved up for and helped her paint. Garcia was shot and killed near his home two days after the motorcycle was completed. (Courtesy of Amanda Batty)

On June 11, the job was done and she watched the 12-year-old pedal.

“She’s just laughing and screaming and Joe said ‘thank you’ – he just lit up,” Batty said. “I just came in the back and cried for a minute. … It was huge to watch.

Two days later, Garcia, 40, was found shot dead a few blocks from his southeast Albuquerque home.

Officers responded around 6:40 a.m. when a Central New Mexico Community College employee reported a man lying at the corner of Buena Vista and Coal. Garcia was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbors told police they heard gunshots hours earlier.

The custom-built bicycle, a quilt made from her late mother’s clothes, and other sentimental items were stolen from her apartment. It is not known if the crimes are connected.

An Albuquerque police spokesperson did not respond to questions about the case.

Batty called the news of Garcia’s death devastating.

“You think bikes are going to save the world, don’t you? Everything we do here now is built on that,” Batty told the Journal on Friday. something that’s been in the works for so long – and less than 48 hours later, it’s done. … It knocks the train off the tracks.

As Garcia’s family mourns and police work on the case, Batty said the store is offering a large cash reward — “no questions asked” — for the return of the bike.

“Finding Joe’s killer is really, really important, but we’re going to let the police do their job,” she said. “We want Isabel’s bike – it’s the last part of her father that she has. It’s something incredibly special and something they worked on together and I think she should be able to have that.

Relatives offer a separate reward for the quilt and any information about the case.

Lisa Urban, Garcia’s sister who sewed the quilt for her son, said she couldn’t imagine who would do something like this to her brother, a family man with no known enemies.

“It makes me mad because somebody thought they had the power to go out there and take somebody’s life, and then it makes me sad because he took their life – and he doesn’t. didn’t deserve it,” she said.

Urban said that in addition to finishing the bike, his brother had just landed a job as a plumber at a company he had been applying for for a long time. She said he was funny and adventurous.

She said he was always willing to try anything once and gave it his all, whether it was “triking” – riding a tricycle up a steep mountain – or cooking recipes seen on TikTok. . Or build a bicycle for Isabel.

“His kids were his world,” Urban said. “He always felt like he let his kids down, but everything he did was for his kids. And that’s what I used to tell him and he used to say , ‘but I could do better’ and I was like, ‘everyone could do better.’ He always tried to be perfect for his children.

She said she will miss her brother’s phone calls to check in, his gleeful laugh and a smile that “made him shine”.

Batty said Garcia left her mark on her and the store.

“Joe was really, really special. I wish I had the right words to express how important he was. I think people are overlooked, people are underestimated. Joe was a force,” she said. said “He showed up, he was just that kind of guy.”

Batty said he set an example she wants more parents to follow.

The Bike Coop is offering a “no questions asked” cash reward for returning Isabel’s bike.

“If we had parents who regularly showed up for their children every day, the world would be a very different place,” she said.

Garcia’s first visit to the store of 2020—for the Strider bike for Adam—inspired Batty and his co-workers to throw a Christmas gift for parents who may not be able to afford bikes for their kids.

“We realized that Strider is the first place a parent can actually say, ‘Hey kid, we like bikes, you like bikes, look at this,'” she said. “It’s fascinating and it’s tragic that Joe walked into the shop being the person who inspired this. … To date, we have given away nearly 50 Striders.

Batty said, in December, the tradition will continue.

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