Alabama Father killed during child custody exchange

State / Regional
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HAMILTON, Ala. (WIAT) — A father is dead after a shooting during a custody exchange in the parking lot of a police station on Christmas day in Hamilton.

According to Hamilton Police, Joe Garcia has been identified as the victim.

A suspect, Christopher Andrew Cochran has been arrested and charged with murder.

“The mother and the father and the children I think had some words. The boyfriend got into the middle of it, had some words to say about it, and the next thing, shooting,” said Hamilton Police Chief Ronny Vickery.

Neighbors in the small town are shocked to hear the incident happened in front of children. Vickery said the police department does not sponsor a parent exchange program, but said it is a location for some families.

Another family who also witnessed the shooting, Vickery said.

The news is even more troubling for fathers like Michael Mobley.

“I mean it is something these kids are never going to be able to live down it is a holiday that they are always going to look at and just bear. It’s just heartbreaking,” said Mobley.

The investigation continues, but the case now lies with the court.

“The only thing I can tell you is he’s been charged with murder right now, and the courts will determine the motive, or if there was self defense, or if it was intentional or whatever,” said Vickery.

While neighbors like Mobley wait for all the facts to surface, they continue to keep families in their thoughts. 

“It is scary to know that in just a matter of moments things can change like that you know it really show how close to home things like this really are,” said Mobley.

Cochran remains in the Marion County Jail. Chief Vickery told CBS 42 that Cochran will likely face a judge Thursday.

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