A Michigan man has said ‘I’m not sorry’ after a bloodthirsty rampage that saw him gun down his ex in broad daylight as she left the nursing home where she worked, prosecutors said.
Barry Garza, 58, is accused of killing Amber Jo Thomas, 40, by shooting her in the neck as she walked to her car in the parking lot of the Linden Square Assisted Living Center in Saline, Michigan, around 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Thomas reportedly had a personal protective order against Garza, saying he had declared his intention to kill her “multiple times” and that she was “afraid” for her safety. It was granted on July 28 but had not yet been served.
Garza also allegedly shot and injured a 67-year-old acquaintance of Thomas, who was walking alongside him, before fleeing in a tan Ford Focus he used to ‘deliberately’ ram into another vehicle .
Thomas, a ‘much-loved’ senior worker and mother-of-one, of Adrian, Lenawee County, died of her injuries at the University of Michigan Hospital, while her acquaintance survived .
Amber Jo Thomas, 40, was shot dead by her ex in broad daylight as she left the Michigan nursing home where she worked at noon Thursday, prosecutors say.
Barry Garza, 58, pleaded not guilty to one count of felony murder, one count of assault with intent to murder and one count of firearms.
Thomas, a “beloved” senior worker and mother of Adrian, Lenawee County, died of her injuries at University of Michigan Hospital
At a court hearing on Saturday, Garza pleaded not guilty to one count of open murder, one count of assault with intent to murder and one count of firearms. .
Prosecutor Jessica Blanch described the alleged attack outside the care home where Thomas worked at 650 Woodland Drive.
“He showed up at work, shot her in the neck, then shot a man who was near her,” Blanch told the court.
“He got in his car and fled the scene and the police. He deliberately crashed his car into another vehicle, which ended the escape.
“He made terrible statements on the stage, which showed his intent, like ‘I’m not sorry I killed that fucking b****’.
Blanch called Garza “an absolute threat to this community” and a “flight risk” before being denied bail.
Magistrate Tamara Garwood described the case as “devastating”, highlighting how the 67-year-old man Garza allegedly shot could also have died – along with others involved in the car crash he caused.
Saline Police Department officials said officers were called to the Linden Square Assisted Living Center parking lot around 11:35 a.m., where they found Thomas and his friend with gunshot wounds.
By the time they arrived, Garza was said to have fled in his Ford.
Several police departments pursued him, and a Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Deputy discovered his vehicle had rammed into another along Willis Road.
Police said Garza did not comply with their demands and was shocked, while the driver of the second vehicle was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of all the victims involved in this needless tragedy,” Saline police said.
“Amber Jo Thomas, you will be remembered and we will do everything in our power to achieve justice for you and your family.”
Thomas reportedly had a personal protection order against Garza, which was granted on July 28 but not yet served
Thomas got a PPO against Garza just a week before her death, saying he had declared his intention to kill her ‘multiple times’ and she was ‘afraid’ for her safety
Friends have paid tribute to Thomas – who leaves behind parents, three brothers and a son – saying in her obituary that she loves ‘gardening, planting flowers and her dogs (fur babies)’
Thomas got a PPO against Garza just a week before his death, according to The Detroit News.
“He has hurt me physically so many times already,” she wrote in her PPO request.
‘I am scared. He said he was going to kill me several times.
Garza is next due in court for a probable cause conference at 9 a.m. on August 17.
Friends paid tribute to Thomas – who leaves behind parents, three brothers and a son – saying in her obituary that she loves ‘gardening, planting flowers and her dogs (fur babies)’.
“Amber also loved being on the lake, camping and sitting around a bonfire with family and friends,” the J. Gilbert Purse Funeral Home obituary reads.
“She was currently working at Linden Square Assisted Living in Saline, MI and was much loved by all of the residents.”