Richland shooting victim was a family man with a troubled past

Fatally shot man found on Richland sidewalk

Lt. Chris Lee of the Richland Police Department provides preliminary details into their investigation of the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old man in the 300 block of Goethals Drive.
Up Next
Lt. Chris Lee of the Richland Police Department provides preliminary details into their investigation of the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old man in the 300 block of Goethals Drive.

The 21-year-old gunned down early Monday in front of his home was a young father of two who had recently moved into the neighborhood.

Emilio M. Elizondo was described by his longtime girlfriend as a caring person with a big heart who would jump to help others when needed.

But Elizondo also had his share of troubles.

A member of the Florencia 13 gang, the convicted felon had an active case in Kennewick for allegedly pointing a gun at people in a passing car.

Elizondo also testified in a February 2014 trial that he sold a stolen gun to an acquaintance in exchange for marijuana and cash. The gun ultimately was used in the July 4 murder of Joshua Snapp, 17.

Richland police have not released many details about why Elizondo was on the Goethals Drive sidewalk when someone opened fire shortly before 4:30 a.m. Monday.

It was the first murder in Richland in five years.

He was found by some neighbors who heard the gunshots.

A suspect in Elizondo’s death has not been named, but police have said the shooting likely was a targeted attack.

A Richland police Facebook post on Tuesday said they believe it is an isolated incident and the public is not in danger. No other information was released.

The shooting has shaken the normally quiet neighborhood which is across the street from Goethals Park. One car with a bullet hole was still parked a day later in Elizondo’s driveway.

Richland shooting fatal
Emilio M. Elizondo, 21, was gunned down early Monday in front of his home in the 300 block of Goethals Drive in Richland. Police have not released details on the suspect, but say the public is not in danger. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

Elizondo was identified as the victim Tuesday by the Benton County Coroner’s Office after detectives spent much of Monday hunting for the shooter.

An autopsy is scheduled Wednesday.

New to Richland

Emilio Elizondo with his son and daughter. Courtesy Ayleen Marin

Elizondo moved into a duplex near the corner of Goethals and Davenport Street about five months ago, according to a neighbor.

He lived there with Ayleen Marin and their toddler son and infant daughter. Another child of theirs died.

Elizondo loved burritos de asada, his girlfriend’s chilaquiles and his mother’s lasagna, Marin told the Herald. He always wanted to spend his birthday at Chuck E. Cheese.

Elizondo was a caring person who didn’t mean to harm anyone, said Marin.

“If anyone needed help, he would help without hesitation,” she said. “He was a family person. ... He was the type of man who always wanted to be out and about.”

Elizondo has 11 siblings between his parents, and loved them all, Marin said. He grew up in the small town of Granger before moving to the Tri-Cities, and used to play football and wrestle.

Emilio Elizondo with his longtime girlfriend, Ayleen Marin.

He attended Chiawana High School in Pasco, according to one of his Facebook pages,which also showed off photos of his kids.

“He enjoyed hanging out with his friends, and if he had money he always wanted to spend it on food,” Marin said.

Revolver for drugs

Elizondo was a high school student in 2014 when he testified in the murder trial of Joshua H. Hunt.

Hunt and John C.I. Young killed Snapp in 2013 because they believed the 17-year-old Richland boy was an informant and had stolen money and drugs from Hunt.

Elizondo told his cousin in June 2013 that he wanted to get ride of a stolen revolver. His cousin had Hunt in mind and made arrangements to meet up later that day.

Elizondo said he wanted to make the exchange so he and his cousin could “have a good time, just hang out and smoke.”

Asked in Hunt’s trial what he got in the trade, Elizondo replied: “Like, to be honest, I really don’t know how much. I remember he just gave me like $10 bucks of weed and like $90 bucks in money, something probably like that right there.”

Snapp was killed weeks later at a secluded spot near Horn Rapids.

Joshua H. Hunt, who testified in his own trial, was convicted of killing friend Joshua Snapp on July 4, 2013. The gun he used, being held by Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller, was sold to Hunt by Emilio M. Elizondo in exchange for marijuana and cash. Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

Hunt is serving a 23-year, four-month sentence at Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell, while Young is doing 31 years at Clallam Bay Corrections Center.

Online court records show Elizondo’s criminal history included a 2013 Franklin County case for taking a vehicle without permission and a Yakima County case for residential burglary in 2015. Those cases were in juvenile court.

He also had a 2017 theft in Yakima County and the ongoing case in Benton County Superior Court.

New gun charge

Elizondo had been out of custody since posting bail on $35,000 for the illegal gun possession charge. He had a scheduled pretrial hearing this week.

According to court documents, a car filled with people was stopped at a Kennewick intersection in mid-August when Elizondo passed by in another car.

The people recognized Elizondo and told police he pulled out a 9mm handgun and pointed it at their car until they were past each other.

One of the witnesses said Elizondo “may have been angry at him because there was a rumor that he had disrespected Elizondo’s gang, Florencia 13,” documents said.

Elizondo was not allowed to own or have a gun because of his 2015 conviction.

Kennewick police got a search warrant this summer for Elizondo’s apartment and found a blue and black handgun, court documents said.

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.