MARTINEZ — With little fanfare, authorities in Contra Costa have charged three men — and identified a fourth, deceased suspect — with setting up and murdering a rising Richmond rapper four years ago.
Rene Garcia, who rapped under the alias Lil’ G the Great, was found shot to death in February 2012, near the basketball courts at North Richmond’s Shields-Reid Park. A 25-year-old Pinole resident, Garcia rapped about life in West Contra Costa and some of his music videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. His death was mourned across the Bay Area, but police remained mum on details.
In 2012, one of Garcia’s friends — a 29-year-old man named Marcos Figueroa — was arrested and charged with conspiracy to rob and murder Garcia, for allegedly arranging a meeting where the rapper was fatally shot. But it wasn’t until this year, when two alleged shooters were arrested and charged, that the events leading up to Garcia’s killing were made public.
This year, Contra Costa prosecutors charged Jonathan Barrera, 27, and Gabriel Schroeder, 21 — both suspected members of a West Contra Costa street gang — as shooters in the plot to kill Garcia. A third man identified as a suspect was shot and killed in October 2013, during an unrelated drive-by shooting in Vallejo, authorities said.