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Charge in Shopping Mall Death

August 27, 1986

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ A woman was charged with aggravated robbery Wednesday in an incident that left one security guard dead and another injured after they were struck by a truck in a shopping mall parking lot, authorities said.

No other charges are pending against Becky Garza, 19, because aggravated robbery carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, and is easier to prosecute than a homicide charge, said John Keel, an Austin prosecutor.

J.C. Penney security guard Elsa D. Ramirez, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene Tuesday after being struck by the rental truck driven by the woman. Kimberly Munday, 22, was injured as she hung onto the driver’s door.

Ms. Munday was in stable condition at a hospital.

″It was mass confusion,″ said Norma Picacio of Fort Hood, whose car was among about 20 damaged in the parking lot at the southwest Austin mall.

The woman, who crashed the truck into a car and limped away on foot, was arrested about four hours later.

Ms. Garza was being held Wednesday in the Austin City Jail in lieu of $20,000 bond.

A second woman involved in the incident who had fled on foot surrendered to police and was released after questioning.

Police spokeswoman Kellye Norris said two women had brought a large amount of clothing to the J.C. Penney store and tried to return it for a refund. An argument ensued after a clerk called security guards.

The guards said one of the women matched the description of a shoplifting suspect at the J.C. Penney store at another Austin mall, Ms. Norris said.

The women took the clothing and left the store as security officers followed them out, police said.