Kennewick police hear gunshots; no damage found

By Paula Horton, Tri-City HeraldDecember 21, 2012 

Gunshots rang out near a Kennewick apartment complex Wednesday, but police say they were not able to find any victims or property damage.

Kennewick police detectives were in the area of 1330 W. 10th Ave. about 6:45 p.m. on an unrelated investigation when they heard several shots being fired near the entrance to the apartment complex, said Sgt. Ken Lattin.

They were able to find evidence that a weapon was discharged, but no suspects, victims or damage, he said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police at 628-0333 or Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at 586-8477.

Inmate still critical after shock from Taser

A Benton County jail inmate hospitalized Monday after being shocked with a Taser was set to be released the same day after serving time for a probation violation.

Kevin T. Culp, 29, of Spokane, remained in critical condition at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, where he has been since Monday.

Culp was booked into the Kennewick jail Friday as a contract in-mate for the state Department of Corrections.

Culp is on community supervision for a manslaughter conviction in Idaho, officials said. He had been supervised by Washington corrections officials since 2009, said Norah West, a DOC spokeswoman.

His supervision was scheduled to end Jan. 21, she said.

Details about Culp's violation were not available, but West said he was supposed to serve three days and was set to be released Monday.

The incident with the Taser is being investigated by the Tri-City Special Investigative Unit.

Culp reportedly suffered an unknown medical episode at 11:29 a.m. Monday, but was combative when nurses and corrections officers tried to help him, sheriff's officials said.

He struggled with officers before he was shocked with a Taser, which had little effect on him. Culp then was put into a restraint chair and moved to an isolation cell that allowed for closer observation.

About 15 minutes later, he was found unresponsive and rushed to the hospital.

Thieves steal laptops in Kennewick burglaries

Laptops are being swiped from businesses in Kennewick during overnight break-ins, and Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers is looking for help identifying the thieves.

Kennewick police have received reports of five burglaries in business offices along West Clearwater Avenue since Sept. 25.

There also have been two break-ins at insurance company offices in the 3100 block of West Clearwater Avenue and at Clearwater and Morain, which may be connected.

The most recent burglary was Monday at 5903 W. Clearwater Ave., where three laptops were stolen.

Other break-ins were: Sept. 25 at 5610 W. Clearwater, Oct. 11 at 6713 W. Clearwater, Nov. 1 at 6320 W. Clearwater and Nov. 5 at 5219 W. Clearwater.

The items stolen include a Canon camera, HP laptop, Toshiba laptop, four Dell laptops and cash.

The close proximity of the break-ins along Clearwater, the point of entry and the fact that laptops were swiped have law enforcement suspecting they may be related.

Mike Blatman, Kennewick police's crime prevention specialist and law enforcement coordinator for Crime Stoppers, said business owners should keep laptops locked up, have them password-protected and make sure they have a way to identify the computer if they are stolen and recovered.

Anyone with information about the burglaries can call Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at 586-8477 or go to www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org. Tips also can be sent by text message by writing "Text TIP 411" plus the message to CRIMES (274637).

All calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential.

Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers pays a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information that results in a felony arrest.

Speeding driver strikes truck on Highway 240

A speeding driver hit a stopped truck Wednesday night on Highway 240 in Richland, the Washington State Patrol said.

Kurt C. Francis-Gustafson, 28, of Kennewick, drove his 1986 Honda Civic into a 1994 Peterbilt truck stopped at the traffic light at Duportail Road in Richland, the state patrol said. The crash happened just after 7 p.m. in the westbound lanes of Highway 240.

Francis-Gustafson was tak-en to Kadlec Regional Medical Center and was listed in satisfactory condition Thursday night.

The truck was driven by Chad M. Story, 41, of Goldendale. He was not hurt.

Inattention caused the wreck, the state patrol reported.

4 accused of stealing Christmas presents in Sunnyside

Three Yakima Valley teens and a 21-year-old man were arrested after allegedly stealing Christmas presents from a Sunnyside home and leading police on a high-speed chase.

Sunnyside police were called at 11 a.m. Wednesday to a home in the 1400 block of South Eighth Street after someone reported seeing several people removing items, said Sgt. Joey Glossen.

A description of the vehicle and license plate number were provided and officers learned the car was registered to a Toppenish home.

While investigating the burglary, Deputy Chief Phil Schenck spotted the suspect vehicle outside the Sunnyside city limits and began following it.

The driver turned off onto a gravel road and stopped after noticing he was being followed, but then sped off before Schenck was able to detain them, Glossen said.

Schenck chased the vehicle as it reached speeds of 90 mph and drove into the city of Toppenish. The driver then lost control, crashing into a building, Glossen said.

All four occupants jumped out of the car and ran off, but they eventually were caught.

The three teens and Hugo Yepez-Pozos were arrested on suspicion of burglary.

All of the stolen items, including multiple TVs and Christmas presents, were recovered, but some were damaged when the vehicle caught fire after colliding with the building, Glossen said.

Sunnyside man holds burglary suspect at gunpoint

A Sunnyside man held a suspected burglar at gunpoint until police arrived after he caught the man inside his shed, police said.

When Sunnyside officers arrived at the home in the 1500 lock of Harrison Avenue just after 6 p.m. Wednesday, they found the homeowner had Arturo Galvez, 24, face down on the floor of the shed, said Sgt. Joey Glossen.

The homeowner is a Korean War veteran who legally possessed the handgun, Glossen said.

Galvez, who apparently jumped a 6-foot fence to get access to the closed shed in the back of the house, was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

-- Paula Horton: 582-1556; phorton@tricityherald.com

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