Teen sentenced for role in Yakima gang-related shooting

Yakima Teen Gang Violence
Credit: Emily Goodell, KAPP-KVEW

YAKIMA, Wash. — A 15-year-old boy has been sentenced to two months in the Yakima County Juvenile Justice Center for his role in a gang-related shooting earlier this year outside Garfield Elementary School.

The teen entered an Alford plea on March 15 to possession of a stolen motor vehicle and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. By entering an Alford plea, a person acknowledges that prosecutors may have enough evidence to convict them, but maintains that they are innocent.

According to court documents, the 15-year-old boy was involved in a Feb. 24 gang-related shooting that left a 16-year-old boy with gunshot wounds.

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Police were called to the area of North Sixth and Fairbanks avenues, near Garfield Elementary School, to reports of a shooting outside the school. Officers confirmed while teachers were inside the school when the shooting took place, there were no students inside.

Police said a 16-year-old boy had been shot at least once during a confrontation on Fairbanks Avenue, just outside the fence surrounding the school’s property. After being shot, police said the teen ran onto the lawn in front of the school and someone inside the building called 911.

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The 16-year-old was taken with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds to a local hospital for treatment, while police said the suspects took off in a car and fled from the scene.

According to court documents, the car the suspects left the area in had been stolen the previous day near South 13th Avenue and West King Street.

Officers were able to locate the stolen car a few hours after the shooting; the suspects initially pulled the car over, but took off again and led police on a high-speed chase, court documents said.

Police said the chase ended near the former Astria Regional Medical Center, when the suspects’ car clipped the front of a school bus, flipped and rolled into a parked car, ending up near South 7th Avenue and West Walnut Street. There were no passengers on the school bus and the woman driving the bus suffered minor injuries.

Inside the stolen car were several teens, including the 15-year-old boy. In addition to being a passenger in the car, the 15-year-old boy was wearing clothing associated with a particular gang and had a pistol in his waistband that was the same caliber used in the shooting, according to court documents.

Another 15-year-old boy police said was involved in the shooting has been charged with being an accomplice to first-degree assault, being an accomplice to drive-by shooting, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

RELATED: Yakima teenager shot outside of Garfield Elementary School