‘It’s just sickening’: Shooting shuts down Cinco de Mayo celebration in Sunnyside
UPDATE, 9:45 a.m. on 5/7/22: The Sunnyside Police Department (SPD) has released more information about a shooting that occurred at the Sunnyside Cinco de Mayo Celebrations on May 6th.
The SPD has classified the event as a gang related shooting rather than an active shooter incident. At this time, SPD has identified a single shooter who fired multiple shots at a rival gang member within the carnival section of the event.
At this time, five gun shot victims have been identified, including four juveniles and one adult. The youngest victim is only 7-years-old.
One of the children caught in the gun fire sustained a gunshot wound to their face, and was last reported to be undergoing surgery at Astria Sunnyside Hospital. At this time, SPD reports that their wounds are non-life threatening.
The adult who was caught in gunfire was transported to Harborview Medical Center for a gunshot wound to his leg. The man’s condition is currently unknown.
According to SPD, officers who were in the area at the time of the shooting immediately chased several juveniles on foot to a residence on the 600-block of Harrison Avenue. They were quickly joined by officers from Washington State Patrol, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, and several surrounding city police agencies.
SPD reports that Yakima Regional SWAT was requested to assist, but four the juveniles surrendered to officers without incident prior to their arrival. An additional juvenile surrendered when SWAT arrived on scene.
According to SPD, another two juveniles were also detained around the area of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
The incident is still under investigation. SPD says the juveniles have been released into parent custody, and at least one fire arm has been recovered so far.
Anyone with information related to the shooting incident is asked to call Sunnyside Police Department at (509) 836-6200.
UPDATE, 11 p.m. — Authorities continue to investigate a shooting at the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Sunnyside that sent at least one person to the hospital and shut down events for the rest of the evening.
Police responded just before 4:45 p.m. to an assault with a weapon outside the Safeway on South Sixth Street near Franklin Avenue — just feet away from vendors working the event.
KAPP-KVEW spoke to witness Benancio Garcia III, who was checking on his campaign booth at the Cinco de Mayo celebration when he said he heard several gunshots.
“I ran toward the direction where the shots were coming from and that’s where the carnival was at,” Garcia said. “I saw an officer rendering aid to someone who was bleeding quite a bit.”
Garcia said he saw a second victim a short distance away near the carnival rides who was also bleeding from a gunshot wound and went toward him to help.
“It’s just sickening to see this in our community,” Garcia said. “If you go to your local grocery store, if you go to an event or a theater, you expect to come home safely, you don’t expect these things to happen.”
BREAKING: Massive police presence at and around the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Sunnyside. pic.twitter.com/qzhHMjzXCs
— Emily Goodell (@GoodellEmily) May 7, 2022
Shortly after the shooting occurred, police blocked off the area of the carnival near the intersection of South Fifth Street and Franklin Avenue.
“There were children all over the place, so it is very concerning,” Garcia said.
Officers also blocked off a large section of the nearby residential area as they searched for potential suspects, including both Grant and Harrison avenues off of South Sixth Street.
Police were engaged in what was reportedly a standoff with someone inside a home on Harrison Avenue for several hours.
Dozens of officers from the Sunnyside Police Department, Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, Yakima Police Department, Washington State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies were on scene.
“I pray for the victims, I pray for our community; there’s gonna need to be a lot of healing that needs to happen,” Garcia said.
At this time, there has been no further information provided by police as to the number of victims, their condition, potential suspects or the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
KAPP-KVEW approached several law enforcement officers for comment throughout the incident, but were directed to wait for information from the Sunnyside Police Department’s spokesperson.
However, that spokesperson was also helping to deal with the large-scale police response and efforts to find the people involved in the shooting and was unavailable for comment Friday night.
Authorities said they should be sending out a press release with further information sometime overnight.
The Sunnyside Police Department announced in a Facebook post Friday evening that the night’s planned events would be cancelled. Officers said in the morning, they will reevaluate regarding Saturday’s events and update the community at 8 a.m.
Sunnyside, WA – Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies are gathered in Sunnyside, amid Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Police have blocked off roads at Grant Avenue and Harrison Avenue, and they are asking people to avoid the area around S. 6th Street.
KAPP-KVEW’s Emily Goodell is in Sunnyside and reports police have also blocked off part of Franklin Avenue near the Safeway.
It is still unclear why police have converged in Sunnyside.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
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