Preliminary identification of homicide victim made

Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins today (Tuesday) confirmed a preliminary identification of the man shot and killed last Friday at Sunnyside's Rico's Tacos Guadalajara in the 800 block of Yakima Valley Highway, which was partially made possible because of eyewitnesses at the scene.

The man, Ramon Magana Mendoza, 25, was identified by his girlfriend and other friends at the restaurant during the time of the 10:45 p.m. shooting.

Fingerprints have been taken, according to Hawkins. The autopsy was completed between 5:30 and 6 p.m. last night, confirming the victim died of multiple gunshot wounds.

"We haven't yet (positively) confirmed his identification. He wasn't wearing any identification," the coroner stated, adding relatives of Mendoza have been contacted in Mexico and California.

Hawkins is expecting Mendoza's family to arrive in Yakima later this week to confirm the victim's identification.

"He isn't in the system," Hawkins explained, stating the fingerprints taken had not yet been entered into CODIS as of 6 p.m. last night, but he wants anyone knowing Mendoza to come forward to help with identification.

"He went by many names, but his relatives say the name provided is what is on his birth certificate. He has no relatives in the area, but if it isn't him, we need to know," Hawkins continued to explain.

The female shot Friday night was identified as Maria Reyes, 42, of Sunnyside. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center shortly after the shooting and is in critical condition.

Reyes is believed to be a relative of Mendoza's girlfriend.

The third victim shot Friday night has not yet been identified by authorities. He was treated at Sunnyside Community Hospital and released.

The Sunnyside Police Department is not yet releasing further details of the case, but yesterday confirmed a white Chevrolet Malibu was discovered burning in an orchard north of Sunnyside. That vehicle is believed to be connected to the homicide.

Authorities shared there are multiple suspects in the case and the investigation is ongoing with assistance from the Washington State Patrol and Washington State Patrol Crime Lab.

The restaurant where the shooting occurred, Rico's Tacos Guadalajara, remains closed and is owned by Francisco Hernandez. The building is owned by Jose Martinez. Attempts to contact either of them went unanswered.


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