Kennewick’s drive-by shootings tied to gangs, but police say it’s not gang warfare

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Kennewick police solved the latest in a series of apparent gang-related shootings with a pair of arrests Wednesday and Thursday.

Police arrested a 17-year-old West Richland boy and 18-year-old Miguel Garcia, of Kennewick, for a shooting at an apartment building on the 1100 block of Cleveland Street late Sunday night with a small-caliber handgun, Kennewick police said.

While no one was hurt after several bullets hit the walls of the complex, one of the shots pierced the wall above where a woman was sleeping.

Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers tips helped lead Kennewick detectives to the homes of the suspects, first in West Richland on Wednesday and then in Kennewick Thursday afternoon. Both teens are being held on suspicion of drive-by shooting. Police have not yet released the name of the 17-year-old.

A week of shootings

The arrests end a week of shootings that started April 24 when Robert Andrade, 25, Alejandro Quiroga, 19, and Gavino Perez, 19, are alleged to have opened fire in a neighborhood in the 2600 block of West Clearwater Avenue. The Honda they were driving was caught on camera leaving the area, and they were caught driving through the neighborhood a few hours later in the same car.

The day after the Cleveland Street shooting, police believe Douglas Duncan, 19, Robert Garcia, 19, and Lino Castaneda, 19, were allegedly involved with shooting toward a car full of teens in a parking lot in Underwood Park. A bullet hit a 17-year-old girl in the arm and she was taken to a hospital.

The next day, Duncan was behind the wheel when he allegedly fired into the air when someone honked at him for cutting him off near the intersection of 10th Avenue and Washington Street.

Later that day police saw a stolen Toyota Sequoia being driven by Duncan near the intersection of Kennewick Avenue and Tweedt Street. He sped away when they tried to stop him, and he led officers on a 38-minutes chase on Highway 395 to near the Oregon border and then back north, ultimately ending in Finley, where he and two others were arrested.

Kennewick police Lt. Aaron Clem said the recent shootings are not the result of a gang war, but he added that they were all motivated by gang ties.

It’s rare for Kennewick to have this kind of spike in gang violence, Clem said, noting that Kennewick detectives continue to work on solving gang crimes.

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.