— A 26-year-old man was arrested Saturday afternoon after two women were found shot to death outside a Yakima downtown business where they worked.
While an investigation was continuing Saturday evening, Yakima police said it appeared the two women were confronted by a man while they were opening the Moneytree money-lending business at the corner of South First and East Walnut streets about 6:15 a.m.
The women were identified as Karina Morales-Rodrigues, 27, and Martha Martinez, 30, both of Yakima.
Police said Saturday’s investigation led to the arrest of Manuel Verduzco, who was expected to be booked into the Yakima County Jail under suspicion of first-degree murder.
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Police did not release a possible motive for the shooting, but said they don’t believe there are additional suspects.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation. Detectives are still in the process of obtaining search warrants, processing evidence, and speaking to persons who may have information on this case,” police said in a news release Saturday evening.
Police responding to a report of shots fired about 6:15 a.m. found the women’s bodies outside the Moneytree, which normally opens at 7 a.m. on Saturdays.
A company official confirmed that Morales-Rodriguez and Martinez were Moneytree employees.
“All of Moneytree joins together to mourn the loss of our two team members who were brutally shot and killed,” Moneytree President Aggie Clark wrote in a statement sent to the Yakima Herald-Republic.
“We appreciate the quick response from the Yakima Police Department and their diligent and ongoing efforts to apprehend those responsible.”
Moneytree CEO Dennis Bassford, who arrived at the store Saturday afternoon, referred further questions to Yakima police.
One woman’s body was found near a silver sedan in the Moneytree parking lot, and the other on East Walnut Street, said Yakima police spokesman Mike Bastinelli.
“We don’t know if she was trying to get away or what,” he said of the woman found in the street.
A glass door of the Moneytree was broken, but it wasn’t clear if that had anything to do with the incident, Bastinelli said.
At mid-morning Saturday, a husband and young son of one of the women wept as they clutched each other after being brought to the scene by police to identify one of the bodies.
Rafael Gomez, owner of La Morenita bakery near the Moneytree, said a frightened customer came into the store around 6:25 a.m., saying there was a body in the street. Gomez said music had been playing in his bakery at the time and he did not hear anything.
Gomez said he went out and saw the body of a woman in the street, and police were already at the scene.
Police closed off sections of South First and East Walnut streets spanning about a two-block radius for several hours Saturday morning. The streets were reopened around noon.
People gathered in nearby business parking lots and around the caution tape that cordoned off the scene and watched as investigators worked.