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Shooting suspect nabbed by police

A 15-year-old Sunnyside boy, suspected of shooting a 14-year-old youngster in the back last Tuesday, April 3, at a residence in the 1700 block of Cascade Way, was taken into custody by local police this past Friday afternoon.

Sunnyside police have identified the teen arrested last Friday as Francisco Sanchez. Charges of assault first degree and unlawful possession of a firearm second degree are being sought through the county prosecutor's office.

The shooting incident occurred at about 8 p.m. last Tuesday, April 3. After arriving at the home on Cascade Way, Sunnyside police found a 14-year-old boy had been shot once in the back and had also been hit with a grazing shot to his right hand. Two other shots, said Detective Jeff Cunningham, had hit a nearby home.

The boy was treated for his gunshot wounds at Sunnyside Community Hospital and has since been released from the medical facility.

Cunningham said the investigation revealed that Sanchez and the 14-year-old boy are members of rival gangs. Witnesses to the shooting identified Sanchez as the shooter, said Cunningham, and local police had been looking for him since last Tuesday.

The suspect was spotted by an off-duty policeman at about 5:30 p.m. last Friday as the teen was getting into a vehicle. Cunningham said the officer called for assistance, then trailed the vehicle the teen was in while waiting for on-duty officers to arrive. Once on the scene, the on-duty officers stopped the vehicle and took the boy into custody.

Cunningham said the suspect is now in the county's juvenile detention center and is awaiting a court appearance.

Last week Sunnyside police also arrested Francisco Samaniego, 19, of Sunnyside during a traffic stop. Samaniego is believed to have stabbed 20-year-old Jose Carlos Escobar in the back during a fight at a home in the 600 block of S. 13th St. in the early morning hours of Friday, Feb. 23. Samaniego was transported to the Yakima County jail and police are asking that he be charged with first degree assault.

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