The convicted felon charged with drawing a gun and pointing it at local police while fleeing on foot following a routine traffic stop this past Tuesday, it turns out, is a prime suspect in the fatal bludgeoning of a Sunnyside man earlier this month.
Wanted by the Yakima County Sheriff's Office, Marcus Anthony Torres, 27, was apprehended this morning (Thursday) thanks to a combined effort of the Sunnyside Police Department, the Sheriff's Office, the WSP, the LEAD Task Force, the Violent Crimes Task Force and the Yakima SWAT Team.
Torres was taken into custody today at a home in the 100 block of Arrowsmith Road, just outside the Sunnyside city limits. According to Sunnyside police, information of Torres' presence at the home was gathered on a law enforcement tip through another investigation.
Yakima County Sheriff Detective Sergeant Robert Udell said Torres and four others are believed to be responsible for the beating that led to the death of Sunnyside's Jose Manuel Correa, whose body was found April 2 in a canal near Granger.
The other suspects, said Udell, have all been arrested, including two people who were in the vehicle that was involved in Tuesday's traffic stop in Sunnyside that led to the manhunt for Torres.
After pointing a weapon at police when fleeing the scene this past Tuesday, police opened fire at Torres.
The two individuals taken into custody at the scene of the traffic stop on Tuesday, said Udell, are 24-year-old James Dean Long and 19-year-old Daisy Valencia, who was in Yakima County Superior Court yesterday for a preliminary hearing.
Long's stepbrother, Jesse Reyes, and another suspect in the April 2 slaying, Issac Cruz, are also both in custody. Cruz, said Udell, was arrested on a weapons charge, but will be charged for the murder. Valencia, Long and Reyes have already been charged.
Cruz, said officials, is the half-brother of Torres. The pair are documented gang members.
Udell said the motivation for Correa's murder "...appears to be complicated."
He said a gun transaction that went wrong is only one piece of the puzzle. It is believed a gun was purchased from Correa by Cruz. Correa also reportedly had a large sum of money he had been carrying around "...along with other disputes."
Correa was reported missing after his vehicle had been set ablaze.
When his body was located, officials say he had been gagged and bound. The coroner's office determined he died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.
Udell said the investigation is still ongoing, however.
It is believed the murder was the basis for Torres fleeing the scene when Sunnyside police attempted to stop the vehicle he was in on Tuesday.
Sunnyside Deputy Police Chief Phil Schenck said there was a home in the area that was struck by a bullet during the time of the shooting.
An officer made a traffic stop in the 300 block of North 11th Street because of an equipment violation on the vehicle Torres had been in.
Torres allegedly got out of the vehicle as the officer approached. It's then, that police say Torres pointed a gun at the officer, who responded with gunfire.
The vehicle's occupants included Long and Valencia, who were detained at the scene, according to Udell.
Schenck would not disclose the number of other occupants who were detained.
A manhunt involving numerous officers from several agencies ensued as officials sought to find Torres.
That search came to an end late this morning when he was taken into custody at the Arrowsmith Road home.