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Suicide In Teen’s Shooting Death Was Felon Man With Gun Was Ward Of State With Drug Possession, Other Raps

Wed., Dec. 10, 1997

The man who killed himself Monday after accidentally shooting a Spokane Valley teenager to death had lived a troubled life, according to court records.

Up until last month, when he turned 18, Martin “Joe” Riojas Jr. was a ward of the state.

He had committed crimes from Shelton to Spokane and had been classified as a chronic runaway, court records state.

His criminal history included arrests for car prowling, drug possession and, most recently, attempted second-degree assault.

Riojas was released from a state juvenile detention center less than a month ago after serving 21 weeks for attacking his girlfriend’s mother, throwing her to the ground and threatening to kill her, officials said.

It’s not clear how he got to Spokane or where he got the loaded .357-caliber pistol he was carrying when he went to visit Breanna McMichael early Monday.

As a felon, he wasn’t supposed to possess a gun.

The two were watching videos at McMichael’s duplex with several other young people when Riojas pulled out the pistol and started waving it around, deputies said. It went off.

The bullet struck McMichael in the stomach. She died less than an hour later.

Riojas apparently was overcome with grief and ran into an alley a block away and turned the gun on himself.

, DataTimes


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