Union Gap neighbors react after elderly couple was assaulted, killed in their home

UNION GAP, Wash. — Union Gap neighbors are in shock after returning from their Fourth of July celebrations to find that an elderly couple living down the street had been killed inside their home near South 11th Avenue and Whatcom Street.

Police said family members went to check on 84-year-old Jose Navarro and 87-year-old Rafaela Guzman Navarro and discovered their grandparents had been assaulted and critically injured.

“Yakima has always had its share of like gang violence and things like that over the years, but for this to happen so close to home is definitely not something we were expecting,” said Cody McDougal, who has lived in the neighborhood for decades.

READ: Union Gap grandparents found dead in home, launching homicide investigation

McDougal said he and his son were out at the fairgrounds, watching the fireworks and they were just headed out to get some food when he was notified that something terrible had happened in his neighborhood.

“We were obviously worried about my family, my mom and my grandmother who live here and, you know, they’re older folks,” McDougal said.

McDougal said they rushed home to check on the family and friends that live around them and make sure that they were safe. He said it’s unusual for them to have violent crime in their area.

“It’s been years that I know of since something like this has happened this close to us and it’s definitely an eye opener,” McDougal said. “Condolences to the family … I couldn’t imagine what they’re going through right now.”

McDougal said he’s been in contact with the neighbors who live close by and others throughout the tight-knit neighborhood about what happened. He said they’re planning to be extra careful in the near future.

“We’re definitely going to be keeping our eyes open for our neighbors now,” McDougal said. “We’ll make sure that if we see anything fishy going on, we’ll be vigilant.”

Union Gap police have released limited details about the incident, but said they received a 911 call around 10:30 p.m. for reports of an assault and first responders pronounced the couple dead at the scene.

Detectives are working with Washington State Patrol Crime Scene Response Team to process evidence and autopsies are pending for the victims. No information has been released regarding any motive or suspect in connection with this incident.

“The Union Gap Police Department wishes to express our deepest sympathies to the Navarro family during this difficult time,” police said in a news release Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about this case to please contact the Union Gap Police Department at 509-248-0430 and ask to speak to a detective.

Anyone who would prefer not to disclose their identity can make an anonymous tip to Yakima County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or by submitting a tip online here.

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