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Man who killed his wife on Christmas Day 2017 is sentenced to 40 years to life

A Bellflower resident who shot and killed his estranged wife in front of their children on Christmas Day two years ago was sentenced on Oct. 3 to 40 years to life in prison, court records show.

As part of a plea, Santiago Palacios Salgado, 58, pleaded no contest in August to one count of second-degree murder with the allegation that he discharged a gun, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.  

Touting a red gift bag, Palacios Salgado went to the 9100 block of Rosecrans Avenue shortly after 3 p.m. on Dec. 25, 2017, where his former partner, Gabriela Romero-Garcia, 41, shared a trailer park home with the two children they had in common.

The gift bag caused neighbors to think that Palacios Salgado was there to give gifts to the children, records show. His visit, however, violated a restraining order.

The children, who were 6 and 8 years old at the time of the incident, told detectives that their father “pulled a gun from his pants and told them, ‘This is all your fault.' "

Then, Palacios Salgado shot Romero-Garcia five times across her torso, court records show.

The victim’s neighbor told detectives that she “rushed outside” after hearing the gunshots, her children trailing behind her. When she got to the trailer, the victim’s children ran out of the residence.  

The woman testified in court that when she looked inside, the victim lay wounded on the floor. When she asked the victim’s children what was going on, one of them simply responded: “Mommy.”

Romero-Garcia was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The neighbor told deputies that, after shooting his wife, Palacios Salgado then pointed the gun at her and all of the children, including his own.

To secure their safety, she said, they ran to her home, where they got on their knees and prayed, according to court records. Palacios Salgado then turned the weapon on himself.

Authorities took him to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where he was treated for his injuries. He had several 9-millimeter bullets and a suicide note with him.

The note, according to a probation officer’s report, was signed by Palacios Salgado and “expressed his anger toward the victim.” It also indicated that “there was no need for police to investigate because he had committed the crime.”

The children Palacios Salgado and the victim had in common were placed in the custody of their older half-brother.

In March of last year, the man told authorities that his mother “meant the world to him” and signaled that he might be suffering from depression. He also stated that his siblings were doing well in school, “considering the circumstances.”

Romero-Garcia’s death aligns with a recent Times analysis of coroner and law enforcement records, which revealed that the bulk of the women killed in Los Angeles County last year knew their assailant. In fact, nearly half of them had been in intimate relationships.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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