No charges filed in fatal home invasion in Yakima

Police say homeowner shot intruder found in daughter's bedroom

YAKIMA, Wash. — Yakima police said a 34-year-old man who shot and killed an intruder in his home Thursday night will not face charges at this time.

According to police, the 34-year-old arrived home about 7:45 p.m. at the Almost Sunshine RV Park on East N Street with his girlfriend and their six children — all between 7 and 14 years old — and found a stranger inside.

“The daughter went into her bedroom and found that there was a man in her bedroom,” Capt. Jay Seely said.

The mother grabbed her children, took them outside and called 911. She reportedly told dispatchers her boyfriend had grabbed a pistol and went to confront the burglar

Seely said while on the call, dispatchers could hear yelling in the background, followed by gunshots. Arriving officers found the family outside and uninjured; inside, they found a man dead with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.

“We do know that he forced his way into their house,” Seely said. “He pushed an air conditioning unit out of the bedroom window and climbed into the bedroom.”

The man was later identified as 38-year-old Joe Mendoza, who lived next door to the family. Seely said the motive is unclear at this point and investigators are still trying to determine what happened during the confrontation in the bedroom.

Seely said the family has had conversations with Mendoza before, but don’t understand why it happened.

“The neighbors are saying, ‘Yeah, he’s kinda odd, he’s looking in people’s windows and we don’t let our kids go out when he’s out,'” Seely said. “But there was never any indication he was going to go burglarize somebody’s home.”

According to Seely, Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Brusic will not be filing charges , “unless the investigation determines that there is some other information that we weren’t aware of and at that point they can change course and file charges.”

Seely said they should know more about what happened after the autopsy, which is scheduled for Saturday.

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