Yakima PD: Gang member targeted rival, shot into crowd at memorial for fatal crash victim

YAKIMA, Wash. — Investigators believe the shooter who opened fire into a crowd and injured three people at a memorial celebration Saturday night in Yakima was targeting a rival gang member.

“I think we see too much of this,” Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray said. “Even though crime is dramatically decreasing in Yakima, we still have a level of violence that’s just unacceptable.”

Police responded to reports Saturday evening of shots fired in the 600 block of Pleasant Avenue and found three victims suffering from gunshot wounds: a 15-year-old girl, a man and a woman.

“The two adults had serious, but not life-threatening injuries and the juvenile had critical injuries, but later was stabilized at the hospital,” Murray said.

Murray said investigators believe the shooter was driving past the crowd of people when they spotted a rival gang member and decided to open fire.

“This was about two people who were at odds and one of them took advantage of the situation and shot at him,” Murray said. “They just happened to be at a memorial.”

Family and friends were gathered in the area for a memorial event to celebrate the life of a 24-year-old Yakima woman who was killed in a car crash at about 2 a.m. that morning.

Police said the woman was speeding eastbound on West Nob Hill Boulevard in a 2008 Honda Accord when she crashed near South 46th Avenue and was found pinned under the car.

“The driver lost control of the vehicle, striking a barrier wall and telephone pole on the side of the road before rolling multiple times and coming to rest in the road,” YPD said in a social media post. “The driver was not wearing a seatbelt during the collision.”

Police said she died from her injuries on scene and they suspect speed was a factor in the collision.

No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting at the memorial celebration.

“It’s obviously troubling; it certainly causes a lot of frustration and angst,” Murray said. “And I feel especially sorry for the family who’s already dealing with a tragedy, then has to deal with this.”

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