Shootings injure two in Toppenish

Tuesday incident likely gang-related

Two residents are recovering from gunshot wounds after being shot 12 hours apart in the same block.

One is a 13-year-old girl, shot in the back Monday night. The other is a 24-year-old man shot in the head yesterday morning, Police Chief Curt Ruggles said. He declined to name either victim.

Ruggles said both are being investigated as attempted murders.

The girl was shot at 8:56 p.m. Monday during what Ruggles described as a possible drive-by shooting.

Witnesses said a suspect approached the residence and opened fire, Ruggles said. Several people were in the residence at the time and the girl was shot in the back by one of the multiple rounds.

Another person in the home was injured by the gunfire, suffering slight face lacerations from bullet debris, Ruggles said.

He did not indicate whether the shooting was related to the one yesterday morning in the same block.

The girl was taken to Yakima Memorial Hospital in Yakima and then Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she was listed in stable condition as of last night, Ruggles said.

The man was found at 8:50 a.m. yesterday in the 500 block of North Date Street, Ruggles said.

A Toppenish resident on his way to work found the man “...laying on the side of the road with a large amount of blood around him,” Ruggles said.

The man suffered a single gunshot wound to the head, Ruggles said. Police are investigating it as a gang-related shooting due to the victim’s alleged gang affiliation.

Residents in the area told police they heard gunshots at approximately the same time the victim was found, Ruggles said.

The victim was taken to Yakima Regional Hospital in Yakima, where as of last night he was in stable condition. He was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Ruggles said.

He said both cases are under active investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call Toppenish police at 509-865-4355.

Monday’s drive-by shooting was the Lower Yakima Valley’s second in two weeks.

On Dec. 8, Olivie Cruze Hernandez, 43, of Prosser; was shot multiple times outside his West Evans Road home during a drive-by shooting, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office said.

He was taken to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, then to Harborview Medical Center’s intensive care unit, deputies said. While there, Hernandez underwent several surgeries to save his right arm due to the wounds.

Hernandez’s 12-year-old son was present during the shooting, but uninjured, deputies said, declining to release the child’s name.


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