Pasco shooting suspect tells ex-girlfriend ‘I had to do it’

A teenager told his ex-girlfriend he “had to do it” after allegedly shooting 51-year-old Jorge Rodriguez in the face on the Fourth of July.

Pedro Cadenas, 17, did not appear in juvenile court Friday after Sunnyside police arrested him Thursday night walking near the intersection of Tacoma Avenue and South 13th Street.

His defense attorney, Karyn Oldfield, raised concerns that Cadenas might hurt himself or others if he came to court on Friday.

Court Commissioner Jacqueline Stam determined there was enough cause to hold Cadenas on suspicion of first-degree assault, drive-by shooting and attempted theft of a vehicle until a hearing on Monday.

Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant said charges will be determined on Monday. If Cadenas, who is five months from his 18th birthday, is charged with first-degree assault, prosecutors don’t need to hold a special hearing to move the case into adult court.

Sant said the two men did not appear to know each other before the shooting.

Cadenas and his ex-girlfriend went to a barbecue Tuesday near the intersection of South 28th Avenue and West A Street in Pasco. She said he left the party at roughly 10 p.m.

Sometime after that, he got into a Cadillac Escalade with Rodriguez.

They were heading west on Lewis Street when Rodriguez was shot. The Cadillac went careening off the road, through a fence and into a parked Mustang, according to court records.

Surveillance footage shows Cadenas — a heavyset man, wearing a white Dallas Cowboys T-shirt — run from the SUV.

Rodriguez, bleeding from his face, also ran from the vehicle. People reported seeing him walking down the center of Lewis Street trying to wave down drivers.

Cadenas, seeing the victim walk away from the vehicle, allegedly tried to run back and drive away, but the SUV’s gas tank was stuck on the fence post. He ran from the vehicle after he couldn’t get it to move.

Rodriguez was initially treated at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, then airlifted to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, where he remains in a medically induced coma, police said.

Cadenas made his way back to the barbecue about 40 minutes after he left, and his ex-girlfriend noticed a large amount of dried blood on his left arm.

She became suspicious and asked if he shot someone. He responded by saying, “I had to do it.”

Sometime after leaving the party, he went to Sunnyside with his ex-girlfriend, and an anonymous tip led officers to find both of them on July 7.

Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402, @cameroncprobert