The man accused of punching a church parishioner and igniting explosives on San Francisco’s streets on Sunday pleaded not guilty Wednesday in superior court.
Daniel Richard Garcia, 42, is suspected of assaulting a parishioner at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in North Beach before leading police on a high-speed chase while he hurled explosives from the car. Garcia was finally apprehended after allegedly taking police on a chase from San Francisco to Martinez.
“Mr. Garcia’s alleged crimes placed countless lives in danger,” District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said in a statement. “He will now face consequences for his dangerous conduct.”
Garcia, who appeared cuffed to a chain around his waist, has been charged with six counts of detonating an explosive device with the intent to commit murder, two counts of possession of an explosive device and one count of possessing an incendiary device. He was also charged with attempted robbery and evading police.
“We ask everyone to keep an open mind. We just received information and discovery on the case,” Assistant Public Defender Doug Welch said after court, adding that new details often emerge after investigation and review of the documents.
No bail has been set in the case, and Garcia will remain in jail.
The motive for the attack remains unclear. But this is not the first time he has been caught up in a criminal case.
In 2011, Garcia was convicted in federal court for a car bombing that damaged a vehicle and apartment complex in Fairfield, a town in Solano County, court records show. But, in 2019, he was released after successfully challenging a conviction on one of the charges.
More recently, he was accused of domestic violence against his girlfriend in Concord, which involved a series of alleged assaults. After Garcia’s girlfriend fled his home on May 18, Garcia was arrested and charged.
When he allegedly committed the attack in San Francisco, Garcia was out on bail and scheduled to go to court in Contra Costa County on Tuesday in relation to that case.
He is set to return to San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday.
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org