Michael Garcia, survivor of brutal attack in Oak Lawn, speaks out
Michael Garcia left his home off Cedar Springs Road on Monday, Sept. 28, after having been home for two weeks, recovering from what he called “being old.”
After two weeks of patiently taking medications, he was anxious to go out.
But after a few drinks, Garcia said he knew better than to drive. He was walking past the Oak Lawn Library on his way home when he was attacked.
“You think the library would be a safe place to pass,” he said. Then he turned toward Valero and suddenly saw a man’s face. He couldn’t see the street at that point.
He figures now there must be a blind spot between the street and alley.
That’s when he was suddenly bashed on the back of his head.
“I just thought there was one guy. He looked scared,” he said. “I got close to him, and it felt like someone slammed the back of my head with a board.”
Another man dragged him into the alley behind the Valero station. Garcia said he was too weak at that point to resist.
The same man hit him in the back of the head again, as the other man watched, still looking scared. The two men took turns hitting him in the head and face while dragging him across the alley. Garcia cried out for help — and for mercy.
“It felt like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” he said, recalling the 1980s horror movie. “I saw the first guy. He looked at me in horror while the other guy beat me. It looked like he didn’t want to be there.”
He finally convinced them to let him go, but not without robbing him of his belongings.
“I fought and fought for my damned life, begging the guy [not to] kill me. I would be dead if the other guy hadn’t given me mercy. I’ve had plenty of near death experiences. This is the worst of all,” he said.
They left him, severely beaten, in a pool of blood on the ground.
He got up and walked home.
“That moment I blacked out but was still walking,” he said. “I wasn’t even asking for help. I just wanted to get home.”
He didn’t even want to go to the hospital.
Garcia got home and cleaned up. Looking in the mirror, he saw huge welts on his face. The mixture of medication and alcohol didn’t help the pain.
He didn’t go to the hospital because he just wanted to get home as fast as possible. But he didn’t call the cops because of previous experiences.
“I’ve had bad experiences in the past,” he said.
But those experiences are nothing compared to when he was attacked.
“[The attack] is the first and last thing I think about every day,” Garcia said. “It was a pretty brutal beating. And he was smiling. It was a hate crime.”
Garcia said he decided to speak out because he knows he is not the only one who has been beaten. He ticked off names of other victims who have come forward but encouraged those who haven’t to speak out as well.
“It’s happening a lot,” he said. “We’re naïve in Dallas, just used to the safety of our neighborhoods.”
On Oct. 7, after speaking with a local news station, Garcia finally talked to the police. It took a lot of guts to appear on television while still clearly swollen. It took a lot more guts to confront his fear of the police. In a short time, other things have changed as well.
“I haven’t had a cell phone in four or five months,” he said with a chuckle. “I liked not having one for a while. But after this I bought myself a new one.”
He also went to the rally organized at the Monument of Love memorial at the corner of Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs a few weeks ago. It was his first rally.
But it inspired him to paint again.
“I want to paint his face. I want to paint his smiling face,” he said, referring to his attacker.
Garcia said he wants to paint to remember the face. And hopefully so his attacker won’t forget either.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 30, 2015.