Nephew charged in Spokane Valley double homicide
Thu., Dec. 4, 2014
A man who family members called paranoid and who was known for making threats is accused of killing two of his uncles in Spokane Valley.
Prosecutors charged Christopher B. Ramirez Monday with two counts of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm for the Nov. 1 double homicide of brothers Juan Gallegos-Rodriguez and Arturo Gallegos.
The men were shot at the Broadway Square Apartments in Spokane Valley around 9:30 p.m.
Ramirez had been linked to the victims through an entry in Arturo Gallegos’ diary. According to court documents, Gallegos wrote that Ramirez showed up at his home on July 5 and threatened him with a knife because Ramirez believed Gallegos was involved with his girlfriend.
Multiple relatives of the victims, including Arturo Gallegos’ son, told police that Ramirez had threatened the brothers and was mentally unstable. Several said they received a threatening text message from Ramirez’s phone on July 5 that included a picture of the brothers.
Multiple witnesses also described a man matching Ramirez’s description leaving the scene of the shootings shortly after they occurred.
Police interviewed a neighboring homeowner, who said a man walked up to his house on the night of the shootings, introduced himself as Demon and said he needed to get away from police because he was carrying a knife and was under Department of Corrections supervision. The man asked the neighbor for a ride, which the neighbor refused.
Physical evidence and witness statements suggest Arturo Gallegos was shot in the face at close range while sitting on his bed. The attacker then fired two shots through the apartment’s bedroom door, striking Juan Gallegos-Rodriguez twice. Gallegos-Rodriguez fled from the apartment and down the concrete walkway outside. The attacker pursued him and fired nine more shots with a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, including at least one shot in the head.
The brothers had a pit bull in the apartment that did not appear to have bitten the attacker. According to court documents, the range at which Gallegos was shot and the lack of an apparent dog attack suggested the killer likely knew the victims.
Ramirez has been in the Spokane County Jail since Nov. 2, when he was booked on an unrelated Department of Corrections warrant for failure to comply with release conditions from a previous charge. He was charged with assault on Nov. 5 for the incident described in Gallegos’ diary.
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory said investigators have no other suspects in the double homicide but are continuing to investigate.
After his arrest, police obtained a warrant to search Ramirez’s apartment at 2906 North Dick Road in Spokane Valley. According to court documents, the floor in his bathroom was still wet, and the room smelled heavily of bleach or a similar chemical.
A warrant for Ramirez’s phone records showed several text messages were sent from his phone to Arturo Gallegos on the evening of the killings. Cellphone tower records are consistent with the phone being in the Broadway Square apartment complex until after the shootings took place.
An attempt to reach public defender Victoria Johnston, who is representing Ramirez, was unsuccessful Wednesday afternoon.
Ramirez has eight prior felony convictions including second-degree kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, harassment, custodial interference and possession of a stolen firearm.
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