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Friends, relatives and the ex-girlfriend of Nicholas Garcia, who was shot dead by a soldier in Siparia on Friday, are denying that he was a thief.

Stacey-Ann Ramroop who was in a seven-year relationship with Garcia before his death said she was appalled that he was being painted a thief.

“I knew Nicolas and everything he had he worked hard for it,” she said. She explained that Garcia worked as a security guard and two months ago they broke up.

She said Garcia suffered from sickle-cell disease and did not want to have a family because he was afraid of passing on the sickness to his children. Ramroop said she wanted a family and had suffered two miscarriages.

“In the end, we decided that we would still be friends but we would move on. I love him and always will. We together since schooldays,” she added.

Ramroop said Nicholas had many girlfriends but she stayed with him because she loved him and knew he would always come back to her.

“I was his main woman. I knew him the best and I know he was not a thief so something is not reading right with what that soldier said,” Ramroop said.

She explained that Nicholas was an only child and the first and only grandson.

The 44-year-old soldier of Beetham Gardens told police around 1.15 pm on Friday, he was driving a black Ford Ranger, rented by the Defence Force, along the SS Erin Road, when upon reaching Skinner Street, he saw a brown Nissan B14 parked on the roadway.

A man was kneeling on the roadway behind the B-14. Believing Garcia to be in distress, the soldier parked the Ranger in front of the B-14 and ran towards the man, leaving his van idling.

The soldier told police that Garcia appeared to be disoriented. As the soldier approached, Garcia pushed the soldier away and got up. He ran to the Ford Ranger, jumped inside and attempted to drive off.

But just as the vehicle pulled off, the soldier grabbed on to the driver’s door as Garcia accelerated, dragging the soldier along.

The soldier said he became fearful for his life so he drew his firearm and shot Garcia at point-blank range.

Police have seized the soldier’s Glock pistol with one magazine and 12 rounds of 9mm ammunition. An autopsy will be done on Garcia’s body today.