January 15, 2013 in City

Police investigate Saturday gang violence

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Spokane police continue to investigate a rush of gang violence Saturday that left two people shot and two others badly beaten.

The four victims were found at separate, nearby locations about three blocks east of Division Street in north Spokane.

Prosecutors have charged two men with first-degree assault after a confidential informant gave police a version of what happened. The victims refused to talk, according to court records.

Phillip J. Ruiz, 23, appeared in court Monday on the assault charge. He is being held on a $200,000 bond.

Daniel J. Dublin, 33, had his court appearance delayed when he refused to be taken Monday before Superior Court Judge James Triplet.

Spokane police were called at 4 a.m. Saturday to 311 E. Liberty Ave., where they found 27-year-old Apolonio J.J. Saldana lying on a bedroom floor with gunshot wounds to his right elbow and both legs.

Saldana told police he was injured in a drive-by shooting, but officers noticed multiple 9 mm casings and bullet holes inside the residence. Saldana refused to answer any more questions, a detective wrote in court records.

A few minutes later, officers found Tony I. Figueroa, 35, a block away on the front porch of a home at 328 E. Bridgeport Ave. He had been shot twice in the stomach and once in the right hand.

Figueroa “claimed that someone drove by and shot at him while he was walking down the street,” a police detective wrote. “He would not answer any other questions before losing consciousness.”

Both Figueroa and Saldana were taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. They are expected to live, according to court records.

While investigating the shootings, police discovered a third victim, 34-year-old Jared B. Frye, at the nearby corner of East Liberty and North Addison Street. Frye had been living in the house where police found Saldana bleeding on the bedroom floor. Frye appeared to have been beaten on the head and upper body.

Officers also noticed puncture wounds on Frye’s forearm. He told police he did not know who assaulted him and that “they” had taken his wallet.

Frye said he had not been at the home on East Liberty, and he claimed to not know about the shootings.

During their attempts to interview Frye, police learned about a fourth victim less than a mile away. Nicholas A. DeCaro, 34, told police he had been pistol-whipped as he entered his 220 E. Wellesley Ave. apartment.

DeCaro claims he was stunned by the blow to the head and doesn’t remember what happened afterward.

Investigators believe one of the attackers was Saldana, based on the description DeCaro gave of three Hispanic male attackers.

DeCaro told investigators that he and Frye were friends and that he believed the shooting on East Liberty may be connected to the attacks on them. The informant told police the violence is due to gang-related retaliation.


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