Yakima teen stumbled into busy intersection while dying from gunshot wound

Two suspects reportedly opened fire on the teen driver near South 20th Avenue and West Nob Hill Boulevard
Wapato, Toppenish

YAKIMA, Wash. — A Yakima man was killed Thursday night when two teenagers reportedly opened fire on him in the middle of a busy intersection during rush hour traffic.

Yakima Police Cpt. Jay Seely said 18-year-old Sebastian Suarez was in a four-door sedan with his girlfriend and a 13-year-old boy, traveling on S 20th Avenue just before 6 p.m. when they stopped at a stoplight at W Nob Hill Boulevard.

Seely said two people who appeared to be teenage boys were on the nearby sidewalk and got into a “verbal confrontation” with Suarez, who then parked at the intersection and got out of his car. Police believe the victim and suspects knew each other, but it’s unclear what was said during the argument.

“The victim got out of his car, there was a fight and then the two subjects that were on foot originally pulled out firearms and started shooting at the victim,” Seely said.

After opening fire on Suarez, both suspects ran northbound into the west alley of W Nob Hill Blvd and S 20th Ave. Seely said the victim’s girlfriend was uninjured, as was the 13-year-old passenger in the victim’s car, who ran away from the scene.

Suarez reportedly stumbled into the road and fell in the middle of the intersection during rush hour traffic.

“Thankfully, there was a citizen that witnessed it and right away, dove his truck into oncoming traffic and blocked traffic to keep the guy from getting ran over,” Seely said.

Seely said the pickup driver, other witnesses and arriving police officers attempted to render first aid, but Suarez died before he could be taken to the hospital.

“We’re looking at this from all angles,” Seely said. “Obviously, everybody wants to know: Is this gang-related? There may be some gang component to this, but we’re not exactly sure at this point.”

Seely said he had about eight detectives working on the case Thursday night, attempting to track and identify the suspects. They didn’t find them but were able to identify one of the suspects, who had previous contact with law enforcement.

Investigators also reportedly found a gun in a small canal that runs north of W Nob Hill Blvd, which is in the area where the suspects were running.

Seely said there were more witnesses than usual due to the prominent location of the intersection and the incident occurring during rush hour traffic.

“I mean, this occurred right in front of Pizza Hut; all the people who were sitting there at dinner got a front-row seat to the violence,” Seely said.

Seely said detectives should be able to identify the second suspect using videos taken of the incident, surveillance footage and statements from all the people who ended up witnessing the shooting and cooperating with investigators.

“If there’s any more witnesses out there that happened to be in the area that witnessed it that may have fled out of fear — which is reasonable — we’d love for them to contact the Yakima Police Department,” Seely said.

Anyone with information about this shooting can call 911, contact the Yakima Police Department at 509-575-6200 or make an anonymous tip to Yakima County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or through the online tip form here.

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