A Connell teen accused of fatally shooting a Pasco man claims he interrupted a burglary when the victim and two others rushed into an apartment.
Fernando Gonzalez, 18, told authorities he just happened to be standing by the front door Monday when the group knocked and the door flew open, court documents said.
Gonzalez admitted hitting one man on the neck and shooting another, documents said.
John Bounhomsavanh, 32, of Pasco, died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His two companions are suspected of helping break into the apartment at 114 E. Birch St. as Gonzalez opened fire.
Gonzalez appeared Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court. Judge Bruce Spanner set bail at $250,000 on an investigative hold for second-degree murder.
About an hour later, Spanner found probable cause to hold Jose Eduardo Carcamo and Samelanxay Johnny Vongvilay, of Pasco, on suspicion of first-degree burglary. Bail is set at $100,000 each.
Connell Police Chief Chris Turner told the Herald that Bounhomsavanh might have been killed during an argument at the apartment complex.
Police, with assistance from Washington State Patrol Crime Lab analysts, were trying to sort out the details of the shooting and collect evidence from the scene Tuesday. They plan to look at phone records to get a better idea of what took place, Turner said.
Connell officers and Franklin County sheriff’s deputies responded at 4:17 p.m. Monday for reports of shots fired. Gonzalez lives elsewhere in Connell but had been staying at the apartment.
“It doesn’t appear they broke in. I know the three (suspects) have been (there) before,” Turner said. “I know Fernando at least knew the deceased because they grew up together in Connell.”
This is the city’s first homicide since Turner took over the department four months ago.
Carcamo, 25, and Vongvilay, 23, are documented gang members, Turner said, though he doesn’t know if the shooting was gang-related. There’s no indication with the initial investigation that drugs were involved.
Officer Milkar Gutierrez said Vongvilay, who called 911, “was very agitated and emotional and uttered something like, ‘He shot my homie, he shot my homie, and he didn’t even go inside,’ ” court documents said.
Gutierrez saw blood coming from Bounhomsavanh’s left arm near the shoulder and noted the victim was unresponsive, he said. Gutierrez tore open the victim’s shirt, observed the bullet hole and then performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. Bounhomsavanh was pronounced dead at a Tri-City hospital.
The bullet went into one arm, through Bounhomsavanh’s chest and out the other arm, said Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel. A forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy Tuesday found no other injuries.
It will take six to eight weeks for the coroner’s office to get the results of toxicology tests.
Gutierrez was talking to Vongvilay at the scene when a dispatcher alerted officers that the “shooter” was on the phone, and said he was inside the apartment and had interrupted a burglary, documents said. Gonzalez then came outside with his hands up as instructed.
After Gonzalez was interviewed by sheriff’s Detective Lee Barrow, Gutierrez went in to talk to Gonzalez and reportedly said his story didn’t make sense based on what officers saw in the apartment. Gonzalez claimed he’d stashed a gun in the bedroom, and said he bought the likely “dirty” pistol in east Pasco, documents said.
In a follow-up interview, Vongvilay said he knocked on the door, the door opened a few inches and the shot followed. He denied having a gun on him, but said there was a rifle-type gun in their vehicle’s trunk.
“We are getting different stories from Gonzalez and the other two,” Turner said.
Gonzalez’s criminal history includes juvenile matters for use of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance, driving with a suspended license, vehicle prowl and malicious mischief.
Carcamo has felony convictions for burglary, indecent exposure, rape of a child, child molestation, assault and taking a vehicle, said Deputy
Prosecutor Frank Jenny. Vongvilay’s felony history is for violating community custody and protection orders, and assault.
-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 509-582-1531; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer
-- Tyler Richardson: 509-582-1556; email@example.com; Twitter: @Ty_richardson