Kennewick man pleads innocent to helping shooting suspect elude police

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 19, 2013 

A 21-year-old Kennewick man is accused of helping a friend evade police by twice giving him a ride, knowing the friend may have been involved in a shooting earlier that day.

Alejandro Indalecio Garza pleaded innocent recently in Benton County Superior Court to one count of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Prosecutors allege he helped Antonio Magana avoid capture Feb. 2 for the early-morning gunfire in Kennewick that left two men with head wounds.

Garza's bail was set at $7,500. He is scheduled for an April 1 trial.

Magana, 24, hasn't yet been charged with the alleged assault, but is wanted for questioning by Kennewick police.

A nationwide warrant for $250,000 was issued Feb. 5 on an unrelated charge for first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Magana was convicted in 2005 of first-degree assault and, in the 10 months following his March release from prison, reportedly was seen with a shotgun and a pistol.

Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts said authorities "certainly want to find him in regards to that warrant."

He also has a Department of Corrections warrant.

According to court documents, Magana was having a party at his Kennewick home overnight Feb. 1 when he left on foot. He returned some time later and told everyone to leave his house.

"Witnesses stated that multiple people at the party were yelling that Mr. Magana shot someone," McRoberts wrote in court documents.

At 1:45 a.m., a car was hit with multiple gunshots near West 10th Avenue and South Washington Street.

The two victims, ages 22 and 23, were shot in the head. Kennewick police declined to release their names, but said they were expected to recover.

Officers responded to the hospital where the men were being treated, then began searching for the shooter. Investigators said the shooting may have been gang-related.

Back at Magana's house, Garza reportedly left several minutes after the other partygoers. He was headed toward Pasco when Magana called on his cellphone asking for a ride, court documents said.

Magana was picked up on Gum Street and eventually driven back to his home, documents said. Garza stayed there until about 6 a.m., and during that time allegedly heard that Magana flashed a gun and shot at two people in a vehicle. He reportedly assumed the people had not been struck since there was no ambulance on scene.

Garza shared details about the shooting with his father the morning of Feb. 2, court documents said. Later that day, Magana again called Garza and asked for a ride from Pasco to an apartment complex in Richland, documents said.

Garza dropped him off at the entrance of the complex in the late afternoon or early evening, according to prosecutors. He described Magana "as acting paranoid."

Magana's whereabouts have been unknown since then. He's described as 5-foot-6 and 165 pounds.

Since his March release from prison, Magana had been living at his mother's Kennewick home along with three younger brothers.

One brother told police that he saw Magana hide a gun in the sofa cushions at the home, and talked about his brother having a shotgun and a black pistol with a wood handle, court documents said. Magana is not allowed to own or possess any firearms because of his 2005 assault conviction.

Magana's girlfriend, who'd been dating him for about one year, also told investigators she saw him with what she described as a long gun and a small gun at his mother's home, documents said.

Anyone with information on the shooting or Magana is asked to call Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at 586-8477 or 800-222-8477, or go to www.tricitiescrimestoppers.org.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service