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In Yakima Co., a rash of unsettling violence

Tue., July 21, 2009, 12:40 p.m.

YAKIMA, Wash. — A baseball bat beating death, a wounded deputy, gang shootings and an officer firing shots at a truck because he feared for his life were part of an unusual rash of violent events in the Yakima Valley in the past few days.

In Moxee, police said 32-year-old Daniel J. Bradley led officers on a chase early Sunday, only stopping when his truck got stuck on an off-road.

Yakima County sheriff’s office Sgt. John Durand said two officers approached on foot, but Bradley reversed the truck, then accelerated toward an officer from Moxee police. The officer, fearing for his life, fired shots. Bradley and a woman passenger jumped out the truck. The woman surrendered. Bradley ran away.

Near Toppenish, 42-year-old Daniel Simmons was beaten to death with a baseball bat on Sunday in a long-running feud with neighbors. Three men have been arrested. Simmons’ death was the 14th homicide in the county this year and second Native American death on the Yakama reservation.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reported that a Yakima County sheriff’s deputy was wounded while responding to a report of shots fired in Outlook, Wash., on Monday.

Spokeswoman Charlotte Hinderlider said the deputy was hit in the lower back, treated and released from the hospital. She added investigators are questioning a number of witnesses in an attempt to identify the shooter.

The deputy was responding to reports of shots fired.

Four shootings that left two people in critical conditions were also reported. Of those shootings, two are believed to be gang related.

Two Yakima men — ages 27 and 30 — were wounded Sunday when shots were fired from a car that pulled over next to the their vehicle. Both men have gang ties and told police they believe the shooting was done by a rival gang.

That evening, a Sunnyside, Wash., received a non-critical wound to his head when he was hit by a stray bullet. The man was injured when someone in a car opened fire to the house next door, where there was a gathering that included children.

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