Monday, November 30, 2009

Outlook - Witness account of girl's murder detailed for deputies

YAKIMA - Jesus Fabian Perales, 22, went before a judge last Wednesday in a preliminary hearing on the charge of first degree murder. The judge ordered he be held on $500,000 bail for the alleged slaying of 14-year-old Francisca Ramirez-Hernandez of Sunnyside.

On the night of Oct. 20, 2008, the young girl had been at a party in the 100 block of First Avenue in Outlook.

According to Miguel Flores, 19, a witness in the case, Ramirez-Hernandez was consuming alcohol and playing cards with Isaac Perales (16), Jesus Perales (22), Jose Lopez (17), Luis Flores (16) and himself.

According to a sheriff's report, Miguel Flores and the young girl went into his bedroom and engaged in sexual relations. He said they returned to the party and soon after the girl left the room with Isaac Perales. He said the pair went into a restroom and Flores said those at the party could hear the activity in the restroom, which sounded to him like they were having sex. Perales left the restroom approximately 10 minutes after Flores said he pounded on the restroom door.

Ramirez-Hernandez appeared to be unconscious when Flores entered the restroom and her clothing was askew, he said. He said he assisted the young girl with straightening her clothing and when he helped her to her feet she said she wanted to go home.

Flores told deputies he and the girl went back to the dining area where the younger Perales was being reprimanded for his actions by Jesus Perales. Isaac Perales left the home on foot, said Flores.

The girl was then assisted into a vehicle by Flores and Jesus Perales, the suspect in her murder. She was placed in the back seat, according to Flores, and he drove the vehicle with Perales in the passenger seat.

Flores said Ramirez-Hernandez gained consciousness and began yelling and screaming at the two men. She told them Isaac Perales had raped her and she was going to report the incident.

The suspect, according to Flores' statement to deputies, was angry and yelled at the victim. He said Perales grabbed the victim at one point, and Flores said he had to tell Perales to let her go.

Flores said the 22-year-old told him to turn the vehicle around and drive so he could think.

Flores told detectives with the sheriff's office he was later instructed Perales wanted to leave the girl in a cherry orchard. Perales allegedly told Flores she could walk to a house and call for a ride after waking from her drunken state.

In the report, Flores told the detectives he thought Perales' idea was a good idea.

He said the men found a location on the south side of the Roza Irrigation Canal east of North Outlook Road and Perales removed the young girl from the back seat of the vehicle.

He allegedly told Flores to drive slowly forward and Perales would let him know when to stop.

A short while later, Flores told deputies, Perales knocked on the passenger front window, Flores stopped and Perales got into the vehicle.

Flores said he inquired as to Ramirez-Hernandez's well being and was told she was "good."

Flores said the following morning Perales visited his residence, instructing Flores to sell his vehicle. When asked why he should sell his vehicle, the suspect allegedly told Flores he had murdered Ramirez-Hernandez and evidence could be in the car.

The 22-year-old Perales, said Flores, also allegedly threatened him to keep him from sharing the details of the evening with authorities.

Ramirez-Hernandez's body was discovered in the Yakima River near Prosser a little over three months after her murder.

An autopsy revealed the cause of death to be a cut from a knife to the throat, which severed both carotid arteries, resulting in her bleeding to death. She was identified through dental records.

The older Perales fled the state and was believed to be staying with relatives in California. Approximately two weeks ago the Violent Crimes Task Force received information he had returned to Outlook and he was subsequently arrested last Tuesday.

Sunnyside - Drive-by shooting

Press release from the Sunnyside Police Department

Sunnyside, WA- Yesterday at 0600 the Sunnyside Police Department responded to a call of shots fired in the 500 block of N 4th St in Sunnyside. Witnesses stated that they heard several shots and a car speeding away from the area. The house was hit multiple times by two different types of weapons. No one was injured in the shooting. The case is still under investigation and there are no suspects and no vehicle information available at this time. Anyone with any information about this incident should call the Sunnyside Police Department at 509.836.6200.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Harrah - One shot, one injured in fight south of Harrah

HARRAH, Wash. — Authorities are investigating a Sunday afternoon confrontation between four young men that left one with a gunshot wound to the leg and another with a head injury.

It happened about 12:30 p.m. on Harrah Road, about two miles south of town, said Sgt. Bob Udell of the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.

Two pairs of men — all in their 20s and from Wapato and Harrah — got into a physical fight alongside the road, Udell said. One was dealt a severe blow to the head with an object, and another was shot in the leg.

“I don’t think either injury is life-threatening,” Udell said. “We’re trying to determine who the aggressors were in this fiasco.”

Authorities have three of the four men in custody, although it is unclear still what charges may filed against them.

“It was not gang-related, that is a pleasure to report,” Udell added.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Toppenish shooting

Toppenish police report a drive-by shooting on the 400 block of Alder Street on November 26. No other information available.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunnyside - Drive-by on Decatur

A home on the 1000 block of Decatur Avenue was the scene of gunfire this past Saturday in Sunnyside.
Police were called to the house for a report of shots fired and when they arrived, police found three adults and three juveniles in the home. The juveniles included a two-year old and a three year old.
Police determined four shots were fired at the home and one bullet was recovered.
Adrian Escobar, 21, from Yakima, suffered surns from gun powder and was taken to Sunnyside Community Hospital where he was treated and released. He was taken in to custody by police on charges of violating a no-contact order and obstructing a police officer.
Martha Diaz, from Sunnyside, was also taken into custody for obstructing a police officer.
Police believe this was a gang related shooting and the investigation is ongoing at this time. No suspects have been identified.

Shots south of Sunnyside

On November 25 Yakima Sheriff's deputies and Granger PD responded to gunshot reports in the area of the 300 block of Duck Meadow Lane, south of Sunnyside. We don't know why they went there, but we assume they didn't catch anyone, as usual.

Arrest made in 2008 murder of 14-year-old girl

Bob Story
November 25, 2009

Yesterday (Tuesday) the Violent Crimes Task Force arrested Jesus Fabian Perales, 22, in connection with the murder of Francisca Hernandez-Ramirez.

She was reported missing Oct. 20, 2008. The 14-year-old's body was discovered last February in the Yakima River near Prosser.

Hernandez-Ramirez's death was determined to be a homicide and initially, Miguel Flores, 18, was being sought by authorities as a person of interest.

Stew Graham, Chief of Detectives with the Yakima County Sheriff's Office, said the investigation revealed Hernandez-Ramirez was killed after a party in Outlook. Her body was later dumped in a canal and discovered Feb. 6, 2009 in the Yakima River.

Perales was identified as a suspect in her murder earlier this year, but he was believed to have left Washington state.

Late last week the Violent Crimes Task Force developed information that indicated he had returned to the Yakima Valley.

He was located and arrested yesterday in Outlook and is being held on pending charges of first degree murder at the Yakima County Jail. A preliminary hearing for Perales will be held in Yakima County Superior Court today. In addition to the murder charge, the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office is seeking charges of drug possession.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yakima man shot in face while at home

YAKIMA, Wash. — An 18-year-old Yakima man was shot in the face while in his house Saturday night in the 200 block of South Sixth Street, authorities say.

The man is not a known gang member, and the 11:45 p.m. shooting is not believed to be gang-related, Yakima police said in a news release.

One witness told police of seeing two people in the alley behind the victim's house, then saw one of them shooting at the house before they both ran north and then west.

The victim was hospitalized for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his mouth, police said.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Outlook - Shots fired at house

Late Friday just after 4:30 p.m. a resident in the 4900 block of Gap Road near Outlook was outside their home watching emergency personnel on the scene of a nearby accident when a black SUV reportedly drove by the home and began firing a weapon. The homeowner ran inside and phoned the Yakima County Sheriff's Office to report the incident and said the suspect vehicle was last seen traveling in the direction of Sunnyside from the home. Further details were not provided.
Daily Sun News

Sunnyside- Murder suspect to be extradited back to Valley

Efforts are currently underway to extradite a man suspected of murdering two others in a 2005 incident.

Sunnyside Police Officers discovered two victims, Jose L. Barragan Guevara, 39, and Jesus Torres, 24, were both fatally wounded in a shooting incident on June 28, 2005. Also wounded in the incident was Alvaro C. Perez, who was 37-years-old at the time.

The shooting incident occurred in the 100 block of West Parkland Drive and Perez was taken into custody after being treated for his wounds. He had been found, according to Sunnyside Police officials, to have a warrant for first degree murder out of California.

For that warrant, he was extradited to the state of California and has been in custody there while awaiting trial for the murder.

During that time a warrant was issued by the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office for first degree murder in the 2005 Sunnyside case.

He will be sentenced Friday, Sept. 18, in California, and subsequently extradited back to Yakima County to stand trial for the murder in Sunnyside.

Police say he will likely be charged on an additional count of murder once he is in the Yakima County Jail.

Union Gap man gives cop conscussion

YAKIMA, Wash. -- The Union Gap man arrested in connection with a Thursday night incident that injured a Yakima police officer may face a first-degree assault charge, police said Friday.

The 22-year-old suspect was being held in the Yakima County jail without bail due to an unrelated case.

The officer, Geoff Gronewald, was released from Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital Friday afternoon, but it was uncertain when he will return to duty.

He suffered bumps, bruises and a concussion after he tried to prevent a man from driving away after Gronewald pulled over a pickup.

He stopped the truck on 10th Avenue south of Washington Avenue because officers had been searching for the passenger, police said.

Against Gronewald's instructions, the driver had left the truck, Lt. Mike Merryman said. He was apparently trying to distract officers so that the passenger could flee in the truck, Merryman said.

When Gronewald reached into the truck to arrest the passenger, the man managed to put the truck in gear and take off, police said.

The truck traveled about 200 feet before plowing through a yard and into a porch, landing on one car and tipping into another, police said.

Gronewald was knocked unconscious inside the truck, where he remained briefly until a passerby alerted police that he was still inside.

Officers caught and arrested the suspect nearby. Initial reports that the original driver fled were incorrect, police said. He was arrested on suspicion of obstructing police.

The main suspect will not make a court appearance in the assault case until next week. Besides probation violations he was being held on, he faces trial in theft, identity theft and residential burglary cases.

He was to be in court Friday in connection with those cases, but he told jail officials he was sick.

E WA police sweep nets 80

YAKIMA, Wash. -- More than 80 people have been arrested and a variety of drugs, firearms and cash seized in a sweep across Central Washington that targeted gang-related crime.

The arrests, which began in the early hours of Wednesday and ended Friday, included 21 in Yakima and more than 60 in the Tri-Cities.

The eight-week operation targeted street- and mid-level drug traffickers, illegal immigrants and fugitives who were suspected to be members or associated with street gangs in the two areas, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Spokane.

Among the seizures are eight firearms, including three believed to be stolen and two assault rifles, plus hundreds of rounds of ammunition, authorities said.

Also seized were what were described as small amounts of marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine; three stolen vehicles and more than $14,000 in cash. The government believes the money is related to drug activity and will request that the money be forfeited, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The suspects were arrested for a variety of drug or weapons violations and other crimes and are expected to face charges in state or federal court. Others taken into custody on immigration charges will face a deportation hearing, authorities said.

In a separate news release, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said 13 of the suspects are facing charges in connection with previous deportations, possession of fraudulent documents, or being an illegal alien or felon in possession of a firearm.

Twelve others, all Mexican citizens, were arrested on administrative immigration violations and face deportation, ICE said.

The sweep was carried out by a wide array of local, state and federal agencies, including seven federal enforcement agencies and 10 police departments and sheriff offices in Central Washington.

Grandview- two teenagers arrested w/gun

GRANDVIEW. Wash. - Two Grandview teenagers were in custody Saturday at Yakima County Juvenile Center, facing charges for driving without a license, driving under the influence and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Grandview police said both boys were arrested shortly after midnight Saturday, when an officer stopped a Nissan Sentra they were traveling in on the 300 block of Wilson Highway. Three teenage boys were inside.

One passenger opened the door and attempted to jump out of the car after the officer turned on his flashing lights. The passenger then closed the door and threw a semi-automatic pistol out the window, according to a news release from the Grandview Police Department.

A 14-year-old boy was the driver and was charged with driving without a license and DUI. Another passenger, a 15-year-old teenager, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

The third teenager, who lives in Sunnyside, was not charged. He was released to his parents.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grandview- Gang related shooting

Grandview- Grandview police raced to the 100 block of Wilson Highway after fielding multiple reports of shots fired in the area last night, Tuesday.
When the officers arrived, they made contact with an individual that pointed toward an apartment complex. As officers closed in on the building, they noticed large shotgun blast patterns on the wall nearest to the fron door entry.
police say when they knocked, a bleeding man answered the door and said "I've been shot."
Police say the male juvenile was lying on the floor in the living room when he was struck by shotgun pellets, which were also found throughout the home's interior. Police say the boy was transported to Sunnyside Community Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries following what they are calling a gang-related shooting.
Daily Sun News

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wapato Homicide 20th this year in Yakima County

WAPATO, Wash. -- The Wapato man found shot to death at a dark intersection near his home Thursday morning once told a state trooper he sold hundreds of dollars of a meth every week, according to court documents filed in one of his criminal cases.

Lenard Cohenour's death pushed the number of homicides reported this year in Yakima County to 20, two more than last year's total.

Detectives said they were investigating the "quite likely" possibility that Cohenour's death was tied to drug-dealing activities.

He had served more than a year in jail and prison after pleading guilty to dealing or possession charges in 2007 and 2008, according to Yakima County Superior Court records.

Cohenour's relatives told investigators that they believed the 55-year-old man, known as "the Captain," had been continuing his drug trade, said Stew Graham, chief of detectives for the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.

Graham said a passerby discovered Cohenour's body about 1:30 a.m. in a car stopped in the road near the intersection of Phillip John and Winaway roads, four miles southeast of Wapato.

He appeared to have suffered a single gunshot to the chest, Graham said. An autopsy is planned today. No arrests have been reported.

One of Cohenour's relatives declined to comment Thursday, saying she was still shocked over his death.

Cohenour's last major arrest was in July 2008.

A Washington State Patrol trooper stopped him for expired tabs near Winaway and North Track roads, not far from his home in the 900 block of Winaway.

After arresting him for driving on a suspended license, the trooper found several containers of methamphetamine in the vehicle, according to the arrest report.

The report states that Cohenour told the trooper he would buy an "eight ball" of meth -- so called because it weighs about an eighth of an ounce -- every two days for $400 to $500 and then sell most of it.

He was sentenced to 66 days for attempted possession of meth with intent to deliver.

Like several other homicides being investi-gated by the Sheriff's Office this year, Cohenour's shooting happened in the dark of night and well outside a populated area.

"Those always present unique challenges," Graham said.

Seven of this year's cases across the county have involved gangs.

All told, seven county homicide investigations have been handled by the Sheriff's Office this year. No arrests have been reported in four of those cases.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yakima to push gang-free intiative

YAKIMA, Wash. -- At her last meeting as a member of the Yakima City Council, Sonia Rodriguez got a shout-out from the fire chief and saw her fellow council members agree to continue working on a gang-free initiative she proposed.

"This is a real opportunity for our city to be pro-active in prevention and intervention," Rodriguez said at Tuesday night's meeting.

There was consensus that those two approaches are as important as law enforcement efforts to suppress gang crime.

Mayor Dave Edler made reference to two recent gang-related shootings, one on Halloween night and another on Oct. 28 near Davis High School, and said, "It's time for us as a City Council to take a firm, direct step" in dealing with gang activity.

The steps Rodriguez outlined in presenting her initiative to the council's Public Safety Committee last week include implementing effective strategies to keep kids from joining gangs; establishing direct communication with residents of affected neighborhoods, not just holding community forums; and setting out specific timelines and measurable benchmarks to provide accountability.

The initiative -- described as a long-term, comprehensive action plan -- would be based on a model from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a program within the U.S. Justice Department.

In council's discussion of the proposed initiative, Councilman Bill Lover said there should be a study session of the full council that would allow the public to have a say in developing a plan.

Councilwoman Kathy Coffey suggested that city staff could start developing the framework for a program based on the federal model and using elements of other cities' successful anti-gang efforts, tailored to the needs of Yakima. The council would receive regular updates, as well as holding its own study session. Then, when the plan is complete, the council would decide whether the city has a qualified staff person to carry it out or if someone should be hired for that job.

All council members voted in favor of that approach.

Luz Bazán Gutiérrez, a community activist and member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, sounded a cautionary note, saying council members should do an assessment of what results came from previous gang prevention efforts.

"What has the money been used for, and what happened?" she said.

Earlier in the meeting, Yakima fire Chief Charlie Hines presented a fire helmet with her name on it to Rodriguez, who had supported training more city firefighters as paramedics, a contentious issue for the city.

"We want to thank her for all she has done, both for the city and the fire department," Hines said, standing at the podium just a few feet in front of Dave Ettl, who defeated Rodriguez in the recent election and will replace her at the next council meeting.

Grandview- two shootings in two days

The Grandview Herald reports that on Monday, November 16, at approximately 7:30p.m., "shots fired" were reported on the 300 block of Avenue D. Evidence of multiple gunshots was found at a house in the area. Neither of the two people inside were injured. No other information as to motive or suspects was available.

On Tuesday, November 17, one days after a Grandview shooting, at around 9:00p.m. Grandview PD responded to another report of shots fired at the 100 block of Wilson Highway. Two individuals were in a residence that had been fired upon, and one heard shots and then noticed he was hit. A projectile had passed through the wall and struck him, but the wound was not life-threatening.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Grandview daycare shot at

GRANDVIEW - Grandview police raced to the area of avenues E and D at about 7:30 p.m. last night, Monday, after fielding a report of shots fired.
Police say when they arrived, a more detailed call came through identifying the home that had been hit, a residence in the 300 block of Avenue D that is a daycare during the day.
Officers observed numerous hits to the outside of the house and also found that a window had been broken and what appeared to be shotgun pellets were lodged in the wall. Police believe approximately three shells were fired from a shotgun. The incident is under investigation.

Yakima- Smile now, cry later

YAKIMA -- Officer Chris Taylor is under no false illusion. His days will always begin at night. His focus; a problem he knows will never go away.
After just 2-years on Yakima's Gang Enforcement Unit, Taylor has memorized hundreds of faces, how to tie those faces to names, hang-outs, vehicles, brothers and girlfriends.
And he is under no false illusion that anyone of them could cause or become Yakima's next homicide.

"The gang members are getting, they're getting more violent. We're starting to get into the same crimes the bigger cities have," say Gang Unit officer, Chris Taylor.

In this war, few are allowed to walk the streets of known gang neighborhoods without being stopped. As is so often the case, this gangbanger was carrying a little something extra.

"This guy doesn't have a job. He sells drugs. And one of the things people will say is, oh it's just marijuana. Well, a lot of your problems come these guys fighting over this ya know."

And Taylor's Next call may have something to do with one of those fights. Shots have been fired at a home. Taylor and other officers arrive in seconds to catch three bangers rolling out of the alley. As usual, few neighbors are talking. Experience tells gang enforcement the proof they need is in the trunk.

It is after midnight and officer Taylor will have to wake a judge to get the search warrant he needs.
Then it's straight to impound where instinct once again pays off.

"There it is right there!"

"We believe this is the weapon that was used in the shots fired earlier tonight."

And there's more.

A fully loaded, sawed-off shotgun was wrapped in blankets, ready to add fire to the reputation of gang violence that is sticking to Yakima.

Sgt. Erik Hindebrandis the head of the gang unit. "They've ingrained themselves in survival which most often now involved having weapons and being prepared if they do encounter a rival somewhere. They're ready to defend themselves."

" Out numbering and outgunning police. Yakima's two major rival gangs are Nortenos with more than 150 documented members and Surenos with more than 200. Combine that with a half dozen smaller gangs and the numbers total more than 500. With hundreds more not willing to admit their gang affiliation. It's a small number but their impact is huge... Most are armed, most deal drugs for a living and all understand that violence equals respect. And the more willing to kill, the more respect there is to gain."

Jay is a former Norteno gang member. "There was always somebody you could depend on."
Jay joined Yakima's Norteno gang 2-years ago. He was 14. His role... Sell drugs, and find rival Sereno gang members and pick fights.

"The more work you put in the more you're known. Like if you get in a whole bunch of fights, you beat other people up, they're gonna know who you are."

We are hiding Jay's identity because Jay left Norteno a few weeks ago. The 16-year old grew tired of the threats against his family, the harassment by police and rivals and knowledge that sooner or later, he'd be sitting in a jail cell or laying in a coffin.

"You don't have to watch your back no more. You can walk and not have to be looking back. Or you don't have to have a belt to represent who you are, or bandana, shirt whatever."

But Jay well be the first to tell you he is the exception.... Few who enter a gang, ever leave.

Gangs in Yakima are evolving... The younger generation of members is more violent, more unpredictable, less respectful of the community at large.

For officers like Chris Taylor, the challenge is clear... And so to is the reality for the city of Yakima.

"Unfortunately things like this never go away. Gangs don't go away. They're not gonna leave Yakima. No matter how many officers we have, no matter if we put officers on every city street."

In Taylor's own words.... Control is the best we can hope for.

Toppenish- drive by, 1 hit

TOPPENISH--Toppenish police are investigating an early morning drive-by shooting on the 100 of South H Street.

Officers say they heard shots fired shortly after midnight Saturday, then found one person who was hit by gunfire.

There were reports those shots were fired from a white car with a dark colored front panel.

Police are not releasing any information on the victim.

They're still looking for whoever is responsible. The shooting is believed to be gang-related.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunnyside teen shot in drive-by

A report of gunshots in the area of Rouse and Cemetery roads was made to the Yakima County Sheriff's Office at approximately 3:45 p.m. this past Saturday afternoon. Several callers reported hearing multiple gunshots and a young man, described in his teens, was reportedly struck by a bullet.
The incident, described as a drive-by, occurred as the teen was walking with two of his friends along Cemetery Road. One caller described the suspect as a male teenager wearing a brown sweat jacket and a blue beanie. The suspect vehicle was last witnessed heading northbound from the scene of the gunshots. Shell casings were recovered and the sheriff's office is still investigating the incident.

Toppenish- Drive-by and high speed chase

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Authorities on Saturday night arrested a 19-year-old Buena man who they say sideswiped a patrol car during a high-speed chase after multiple drive-by shootings.

It began with reports from Toppenish police of multiple drive-by shootings in the Toppenish area about 2 p.m., according to a news release from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office. When a deputy in the area attempted to pull over a suspicious vehicle near the intersection of Fraley and Buena roads, the driver took off at speeds that exceeded 100 mph.

The chase went on for several miles, and at one point the driver ran off the road at the intersection of McDonald Road and Rowberry Way, just outside of Toppenish.

As the driver maneuvered back onto McDonald Road, his vehicle sideswiped a deputy’s patrol car. The deputy was not injured.

Later in the chase, officers slowed down due to poor visibility on the dusty Willowtree Lane, authorities said. Moments later, the vehicle was found abandoned inside a mobile home court on Willowtree Lane.

Deputies found a scoped rifle in the vehicle, along with spent shell casings and bullets, according to the release.

After a search of the area, deputies found two people believed to have been passengers during the pursuit.

About seven hours later, deputies found the man they believe to have been the driver inside his Buena home. The man — who authorities say has gang connections — had shaved his head in an apparent attempt to change his appearance.

Deputies are investigating whether the rifle found in the man’s vehicle is connected to a shooting reported about 1:45 a.m. Saturday on Crewport Lane, north of Granger.

The man was arrested on pending charges of eluding and second-degree assault.

— Melissa Sánchez

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sunnyside shooting suspect arrested

SUNNYSIDE -- Authorities on Tuesday morning arrested a man they say was responsible for a shooting in Sunnyside last week.

Sunnyside Police, with assistance from the Yakima County Violent Crimes Task Force, arrested a 20-year-old Sunnyside man Monday and plan to request charges of assault with a firearm for his alleged role in a Nov. 4 shooting, according to a police news release

Police say the suspect fired two shots at a black BMW driving near North Avenue and Victory Way shortly after 8 p.m. last Wednesday. No one was injured, the release said.

Officers in Sunnyside and Moxee, where the alleged shooter had ties, searched for the suspect with no luck until Tuesday morning.

The man now is in the Yakima County Jail, police said.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sunnyside- Mexican police capture jail escapee after three years

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A ( Norteno ) gang member who escaped from the Sunnyside jail three years ago and was among the U.S. Marshals' 15 Most Wanted Fugitives is back in the United States after being caught in Mexico.

Aaron Lopez Garcia, 31, was arrested Friday night in Manzanillo, in the state of Colima, according to a news release from the U.S. Marshals.

After appearing in front of a federal magistrate in California, he's expected to return to Washington, according to Darrick Swick, a deputy U.S. marshal in Richland.

"They flew him up here (to the U.S.) tonight," Swick said Saturday night. "He's in some part of California; I'm not sure where."

But, eventually, "He's coming back here," said Swick, who's been on the case since 2006.

Garcia -- who was wanted for escape and firearms violations -- and three other inmates escaped from the Sunnyside City Jail in late November 2006 using metal torn from a mop bucket. They had carved their way through a 1-inch-thick reinforced concrete ceiling, then crawled though ductwork to the roof.

The other three inmates -- Rolando Cortez-Orozco, Roberto Ruiz-Ochoa and Ernesto Gallegos -- were soon captured. All four were being held in the Sunnyside jail under a contract with the U.S. Marshals.

At the time of the jailbreak, Garcia was to be sentenced for illegal possession of a firearm. He had been discovered with a handgun on the floorboard of a vehicle in which he was a passenger on Feb. 10, 2005. Federal charges were filed, he went to trial and was found guilty.

In a separate 2000 case, he was convicted of possessing methamphetamine and of possessing a firearm.

Authorities arrested Garcia without incident near an ice cream factory. He was taken into custody by Colima state police with help from deputy U.S. marshals assigned to the agency's field office in Mexico City. U.S. and Mexican immigration authorities and U.S. Customs and Border Protection also aided in Garcia's arrest.

"This is wonderful news," Sunnyside police Deputy Chief Phil Schenck said Saturday night. "It's really nice that it's done. We've been looking for this guy for quite some time. A lot of resources have gone into this."

The 2006 breakout marked the first time anyone had escaped from the Sunnyside jail since it was built in 1997, Schenck said.

The hole Garcia and the three other inmates escaped through three years ago was just big enough for one person to crawl through, and it was carved in an area of the bathroom ceiling that was not visible to surveillance cameras nor from the door of the cell.

Since then, Schenck said, improvements have been made to the Sunnyside jail.

"I don't know where he'll end up, but I would welcome an opportunity to house him in our jail again," Schenck said. "He would not escape again."

According to the U.S. Marshals, Garcia is a documented member of the Norteños gang and has a history of convictions that include robbery, domestic violence, burglary and assault.

"Aaron Garcia's arrest is an excellent example of how we continue to benefit from an extraordinary relationship with Mexican authorities, as well as our fellow law enforcement agencies," John F. Clark, director of the U.S. Marshals Service, said in the news release. "Garcia has an extensive history of violence and the time has come for him to answer for his crimes."

Sunnyside- Manhunt for shooting suspect

Sunnyside police are looking for 20-year-old Ramon Verduzco in connection with an assault with a firearm that took place in Sunnyside last night.
Shortly after 8 p.m. last night, Wednesday, the victim was driving in the area of North Avenue and Victory Way. His car was struck twice by bullets. No one was injured.
Further investigation led officer to identify the suspect as Verduzco.
Officers searched several residences and received assistance from the Moxee Police Department, where Verduzco has connections. He was not found.
Sunnyside police are continuing to search for Verduzco. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Verduzco is asked to call Sunnyside Police at 836-6200.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sunnyside police on lookout for shooter

SUNNYSIDE -- Police in Sunnyside are seeking a man suspected of shooting at an occupied car on Wednesday night.

The victim, who was not identified, was driving in the area of North Avenue and Victory Way when his black BMW was struck by two bullets, according to a news release from the Sunnyside Police Department. The driver was not injured.

Police said their investigation identified Ramon Verduzco, 20, as the suspect. He has ties to the Sunnyside and Moxee areas.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts may call police at 509-836-6200.

Sunnyside- Woman robs bank

SUNNYSIDE Police are searching for a woman who robbed a bank in Sunnyside at gunpoint this morning.

The woman walked into Banner Bank in the 900 block of Edison Avenue at 11:30 a.m. wearing black sweatpants, a black sweatshirt, a blue bandanna, black gloves and a yellow surgical mask, police said.

She handed a note to a teller demanding money, displayed a firearm and left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

The suspect is described as Hispanic, 5-foot-5 and between 120 and 130 pounds.

The FBI is assisting Sunnyside police with the investigation. Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call police at 509-836-6200.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yakima- Shooters lead police on chase

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Police say two California felons shot a Yakima man in the leg, then led officers on a car chase before breaking into a southeast Yakima home and threatening to kill a woman there Thursday afternoon.

Within 40 minutes of the shooting, authorities arrested the two men -- ages 20 and 27, both of Turlock, Calif. -- on pending charges of assault, burglary, firearm possession and harassment.

This is what police say happened in what they are calling a gang-related incident:

About 12:40 p.m., somebody called 9-1-1 to report gunfire and several people running in the area of South Third and Pine streets, according to Yakima police Capt. Greg Copeland.

Officers spotted a dark blue Honda Civic that witnesses said was involved in a drive-by shooting -- but its driver sped away when they tried to stop it, police said. A loaded pistol was later found along the chase route.

Near South Eighth and Race streets, two men ditched the Civic, heading west on foot, authorities said.

Officers followed them into the 600 block of South Seventh Street and began knocking on doors, searching for the men.

At one home, a nervous-looking woman told police that nobody was there, said gang unit Sgt. Erik Hildebrand.

"We left her and then realized there's nowhere else they could have gone," Hildebrand said later.

So the officers returned, and the woman let them look around inside. They found the two men hiding in a bathroom.

Later the woman told officers the men threatened to kill her if she called police. Police said she did not know either man.

One man was shirtless, having apparently discarded his shirt to avoid being recognized, Hildebrand added.

Meanwhile medics were treating a gunshot victim in the 300 block of South Fourth Street, according to the release.

Yakima resident Irvis Pineda, 18, told police he was shot in the leg while walking, Copeland said. Pineda is a known gang associate, authorities said.

Witnesses to the shooting identified the two suspects, Copeland wrote. The men are believed to be involved in gangs.

Yakima- Another Man Shot in Broad Daylight

YAKIMA -- Another possible gang related shooting in Yakima Thursday afternoon. Once again, it happened in broad daylight.

An 18-year-old man was shot in the knee near 4th street and maple, shortly before 1:00 in the afternoon. Police quickly tracked two suspects to a home where they say the men broke in while trying to escape.

In the meantime, Adams Elementary and Washington Middle school both went into lock down during the investigation.

Two men were arrested. Both are from California and both have gang ties.

"We do believe we have the two individuals responsible at this time but there's more checking left," Captain Greg Copeland told Action News. "It's getting more and more dangerous around here for little kids and even for me. When I walk down the street I'm afraid of getting shot," Kathy Hitchcock sighed after witnessing the shooting.

The two men are sitting in the Yakima County jail charged with a list of crimes including assault and burglary.

Sunnyside- shooting suspect sought

Sunnyside A 20-year-old Sunnyside man is being sought in connection with two shots being fired at a black BMW in Sunnyside last night, authorities said.

The victim told Sunnyside police he was driving in the area of North Avenue and Victory Way around 8 p.m. when his car was hit by two bullets, said Charlotte Hinderlider, police spokeswoman.

No one was hurt, she said.

Investigators zeroed in as Ramon Verduzco as a suspect in the shooting and searched several homes in Sunnyside and Moxee looking for him, Hinderlider said.

Verduzco is wanted on suspicion of first-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm, Hinderlider said.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call Sunnyside police at 509-836-6200.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yakima- shooting injures teen

YAKIMA, Wash. -- An 18-year-old Yakima man suffered a minor arm wound in a gang-related shooting late Tuesday, police said.

Officers responded to the area of 24th and West Lincoln avenues about 11:45 p.m. to check on multiple reports of gunfire.

Minutes later, the gunshot victim was dropped off at a city hospital, where he was treated and later released.

Four people were in the car. The victims told police they were driving when an older red sport utility vehicle approached them head-on, then someone opened fire as the vehicle passed.

Bullets shattered the right rear passenger window before striking the man in the right arm, which he had used to cover his face, police said. Two small-caliber bullets were found in his sweatshirt.

Police identified two other occupants -- both men in their early 20s -- and said all three victims are known Yakima gang members.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wapato- 16yo suspect in Norteno homicide surrenders

The main suspect in the shooting death of a 16-year-old Wapato boy last year is in custody.

Delfino Juan Benson, 19, surrendered Friday at the Puyallup Police Department, according to a news release from the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's detectives on Oct. 23 announced that they had arrested three other suspects in the Nov. 12, 2008, death of Ricky Cabrera. Last week, a warrant was issued for Benson's arrest.

Cabrera was fatally shot while walking to a nearby store from his home on North Track Road.

Detectives say the suspects were cruising the Wapato area for rival gang members, hoping to stage a retaliatory attack because of a fatal shooting in Sunnyside.

The suspects recognized a friend with Cabrera as a gang member, and Benson opened fire on the pair, detectives say. Cabrera's family acknowledges that his brothers are gang members, but relatives say they tried to keep him out of gangs.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Yakima- teen recovering after shooting

YAKIMA, Wash. -- An 18 year-old male was shot in a gang-related incident late Saturday, according to a Yakima Police Department news release.

About 10:10 p.m., police responded to a shooting report in the area of Powerhouse and Castlevale roads. A short time after the initial call, a gunshot victim arrived at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. Police said the 18 year-old had been transported by private vehicle.

The teen said he was walking with a female companion in the area of 3600 Powerhouse Road when someone in a passing dark-colored sedan fired several shots at them. The man was struck once in the right leg. The female was not injured.

Officers located several bullet casings in the area and believe the incident was gang-related.