“Kind-Hearted” community member slain in string of shootings, arsons

New details include the identities of two victims and a statement from the IBEW Local 112 on the arson/shooting spree.

FINLEY, Wash. — Amongst the victims of Wednesday morning’s violent crime spree across Benton County was a beloved father and community member who spent more than 40 years establishing a restaurant that’s become a staple of the Tri-Cities.

KAPP-KVEW has confirmed that Emil Robert ‘Bob’ Zlatich Jr. was one of three victims murdered in a violent rampage on August 25. The suspect, who hasn’t yet been publically identified, set fire to Zlatich’s home before shooting him and his son.

The late victim’s son, Emil Robert Zlatich, is in “critical but stable” condition. He was transported to a hospital in Spokane for extensive treatment. No further information regarding his condition is available at this time.

His father is remembered fondly by the team at ‘Zip’s By the Cable Bridge,’ where he formed strong bonds and helped establish the Tri-Cities fast food restaurant as a staple of the community. The Zip’s team took to social media, where they and other community members commemorated the “very intelligent and kind-hearted” man:

PREVIOUS: 4 dead, 1 injured in gruesome rampage across Kennewick, Finley, and West Richland

Law enforcement agents across the Tri-Cities are conducting separate yet connected investigations into the multiple laters of this case. Kennewick Police are investigating the murder of two people at a home on Gum Street which they believe is connected to this incident. The suspect is also accused of setting numerous fires along Highway 397 near Finley on Wednesday morning.

Authorities are also investigating two fires at two International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 112 facilities on N Edison Street. According to a Facebook post by IBEW Local 112, the suspect shot out a door near the group’s meeting room, placed gas cans inside the door, and lit it on fire.

They say the facility’s fire suppression system put the flames out without significant structural damage, but the sprinkler system flooded roughly 80% of the building’s carpet. The IBEW worked to restore the building on Wednesday afternoon and plans to re-open for normal business hours on Friday. No one from their team was injured.

The suspect also targeted an IBEW Training Center, which sustained more smoke and fire damage than the Edison St location.

This is a breaking news story. KAPP-KVEW will continue to report new information as the story develops.

RECENT HEADLINES FROM THE KAPP-KVEW NEWS STAFF:

PREVIOUS: Violent arson spree across Benton County culminates in West Richland shootout