Murder-suicide victims' family gets support from local gym

Estranged family member opened fire on father, daughter in Austin

By Courtney Friedman - VJ, Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A San Antonio family has been torn apart by a shocking murder-suicide in Austin.

Police reported Michael Garcia and his 23-year-old daughter, Hailey Reyes, were ambushed by an estranged family member Saturday while on a family trip in Austin.
They were both shot, police said. Garcia died at the scene, and Reyes was eventually put on life support. 

Police said the shooter, Elijiah Stone, was Garcia's estranged brother, and he turned the gun on himself.

Some of Garcia's greatest passions were jiujitsu and wrestling, and his gym family is struggling with the news. 

Jiujitsu teaches power and endurance, but even that type of strength couldn't prepare Jason Yerrington for the news he received Sunday.

"So we're getting up Mother's Day, and you get hit with that real traumatic, real horrible, put everything in perspective kind of moment," said Yerrington, who was a friend of the victims.

Yerrington trained alongside Garcia almost nine years ago and now owns one of the gyms where he still practiced.

"I would see Michael every single night," Yerrington said.

He said Garcia was a family man, above all. 

"He was really, really proud of his blue belt, but he was always taking time off and sacrificing for his daughters," he said.

Garcia's youngest daughter has also trained at Yerrington's Ohana academy for years, and will be leaning on her gym family in the difficult days that lie ahead.

There are "so many unanswered questions that are going to be going on for a long time. They're going to need our support and our help financially," Yerrington said.

Yerrington's jiujitsu family reaches throughout the community to other gyms and coaches, who all come together in times like this to wrap teammates and their families in love.  

"Ohana means family," Yerrington said. "We have to come together as a community right now."

On Sunday, Ohana Academy's Stone Oak location will host a series of fundraising activities for Michael Garcia's family as they deal with medical and funeral costs. 

Wrestling Class
10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Donation: $20 per person

1-4 p.m. 
Donation: $10 per person

Self-Defense Class
2-3 p.m.
Donation: $20 person 

Autograph/pictures with UFC fighter Alex “The Great” Hernandez
3-4 p.m. 

This event is open to the public, and all affiliations are welcome.

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