Injured shooting victim in Yakima shot responding officer, investigators say
Injured officer released from hospital, suspect in critical condition at Harborview
YAKIMA, Wash. — Authorities are trying to piece together the details of an incident Monday morning involving three crime scenes spanning two and a half city blocks that left a man and a Yakima police officer with gunshot wounds.
While the investigation is still early, officers believe it all started when someone shot a man several times in an alley off of North 1st Street, and that man later got into a shootout with a Yakima Police officer farther down the alley.
“We’re just trying to connect it all together and make sure we have the right individual, that this is his blood from one scene connected to the next scene connected to the third scene,” said Capt. Dave Johnson, who works at the Toppenish Police Department and leads the Yakima Valley Special Investigations Unit.
The Yakima Valley Special Investigations Unit is a task force made up of law enforcement officers from different agencies. The unit investigates uses of force in Yakima County and is handling this current investigation.
Based on evidence collected so far, investigators believe everything happened in an alley between North 1st and North 2nd streets, moving southbound, with the initial shooting near East H Street, the confrontation between the man and the officer near East G Street, and the man’s arrest near East F Street.
“By following the blood trail, we were able to connect all three scenes,” Johnson said.
Gunshots near North 2nd & East F
Someone called 911 about 12:20 a.m. Monday and said they had heard gunshots near North 2nd and East F streets and that someone may have been shot.
“We were told there was a person who had been shot that was walking away from the scene,” Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray said.
Murray said when officers went to check out the area, they didn’t see anything to indicate that there was a shooting or that someone had been shot.
Investigators later determined the shooting likely took place in the alley between North 1st and North 2nd streets, between East G and East H streets.
“There was a lot of blood at that scene and shell casings,” Johnson said. “We’re making the assumption that was the initial call that went to the Yakima Police Department.”
No further information was available Monday morning about what happened during the initial shooting and no suspects have been identified in that incident.
Officer shot near North 1st & East G
When arriving officers didn’t find anything near North 2nd and East F streets, they continued searching the larger area.
One Yakima police officer was in the alley between North 1st and North 2nd streets, near East G Street when he came across a man with a gun who was already injured and appeared to have been shot multiple times.
The officer got out of his patrol car. Johnson said the injured man shot at the officer, who fired back. It’s unclear how many shots were fired but the officer was shot once in the lower leg and his patrol car was hit multiple times.
The officer was treated at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and released. He had not been identified as of Monday morning.
Johnson said, because the man had been shot multiple times prior to the shootout with the officer, they don’t know if any of his bullet wounds came from the officer’s gun.
Arrest near North 2nd & East F
Johnson said the man ran southbound in the alley and was taken into custody near North 2nd and East F Street. He was taken to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, then airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he was in critical condition as of Monday morning.
Investigators say they found a gun in the area and believe it may have been the one used by the man who shot the officer. Police closed off the crime scenes, including several blocks of North 1st.
Johnson said investigators will keep looking for additional evidence in the areas for most of the day. There is a chance when the roads will be closed for most of the day.
Two shooting investigations
Murray said there is no further information at this point about the initial shooting or about who may have shot the man before he confronted the officer in the alley.
“We don’t even have an identity on him at this point,” Murray said. “He told us a first name and that’s all we have.”
Johnson said due to the size and scope of the incidents and the multiple crime scenes, the Yakima Valley Special Investigations Unit has called in help from outside agencies.
Two Kennewick Police officers came to help keep the area locked down while investigators work. Johnson said a gun was found at one of the crime scenes, along with bullet casings.
Two people from Washington State Patrol crime labs — one from Wenatchee and one from Spokane — are working to map the crime scene. Two Spokane crime lab techs are collecting evidence.
“We do have some video in that area,” Johnson said. “We’re in the process of getting that and hopefully that will answer some of our questions.”
Johnson is asking anyone with information about the incidents or who has surveillance cameras near North 1st and North 2nd streets near East F, East G or East H streets to call 911, where dispatchers will connect them to investigators.
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