A 20-year-old Kennewick man is dead in a gang-related shooting at the Heatherstone Apartments.
Jorge Antonio Jimenez was shot in the stomach and leg when he confronted two suspects carving their rival gang insignia into the paint of his gold SUV parked in the complex lot Monday night.
Police were looking Tuesday for two male suspects seen running north through the complex across the street from Park Middle School.
Officers were called shortly before 9 p.m. Monday to a report of several shots fired at 1138 W. 10th Ave. in the parking lot of the F Building.
“At least a dozen shots were fired by the suspect with a handgun, with at least two of the bullets striking the victim,” said Kennewick Sgt. Ken Lattin.
Some friends helped a wounded Jimenez back to his second-floor apartment, where he died before police and paramedics arrived.
On Tuesday, Suzy and Jose Nieto of Wenatchee told the Herald their 19-year-old daughter and their 1-year-old granddaughter lived with Jimenez. Their daughter called them at 3 a.m. about the shooting.
The couple first met Jimenez two years ago. They described him as quiet.
“We just never got to the point of building a relationship with him,” Suzy Nieto said.
Other neighbors in the complex said they didn’t know the couple.
The Washington State Patrol crime scene team responded from Spokane on Monday night and spent much of Tuesday collecting evidence at the scene for the Kennewick Police Department.
The front driver-side door of Jimenez’s SUV was covered in black fingerprint dusting powder around some visible scratches, and at least three pieces of red tape could be seen stuck to the wall of the apartment complex, possibly marking bullet holes, near the parked car.
Lattin said Kennewick police detectives, along with the Benton County Sheriff’s gang enforcement team, were worked through the night and into Tuesday on leads in the case.
“We’d like more witnesses to come forward and tell us what they know,” Lattin said.
Both suspects are described as Hispanic males. One is taller, with a thin build and spiked dark hair, in his early 20s. The second, believed to be the gunman, is shorter, with a heavy build and dark hair, also in his early 20s.
Lattin said there have been continued conflicts between at least two rival gangs in the Tri-City area, but there has not been an unusual increase in activity in Kennewick. Jimenez was previously documented as a member in one of them, Lattin said, though he declined to name the gang.
A initial search of public court records show Jimenez has no felony criminal convictions in the Benton or Franklin counties.
Kennewick police have previously responded to several calls near the apartment complex and surrounding areas near 10th Avenue, Lattin said.
“It’s a very densely populated area,” he said. “It’s not abnormal when you look at the population.”
The Benton County coroner has notified Jimenez’s family and an autopsy is planned.