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Saturday, January 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Yakima police officer shoots, kills man

Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA – One man is dead and a Yakima police officer is on administrative leave after authorities responded to a domestic disturbance in West Valley late Friday afternoon.

Police responded to a call about a domestic situation at 2125 S. 68th Ave. at 5:18 p.m. Upon their arrival, officers found two men fighting in an attached garage, according to police spokesman Mike Bastinelli.

One of the men pulled out a handgun and one of the officers fired on the man, killing him, Bastinelli said. Police recovered a handgun at the scene, he said.

None of the officers nor the other man involved in the fight was injured, Bastinelli said. He did not say how many officers were at the house when the shooting occurred, nor how many shots were fired.

The officer who killed the man, who was not identified, is on administrative leave while Yakima police investigate the shooting. Bastinelli declined to identify the officer by name or rank.

Yakima police conduct their own criminal investigations into officer-involved shootings and forward the reports to the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for a decision on whether the shootings are justifiable. The department also conducts a separate investigation to determine if its policies were followed.

Police were questioning witnesses at police headquarters Friday night, Bastinelli said.

The home, in the middle of a West Valley neighborhood of single-family homes, was cordoned off with red and yellow crime-scene tape as officers awaited warrants to search the property. One Yakima police vehicle was in the driveway, within the police tape, with its driver’s side door open.

Bastinelli said he did not know whether the victim or the other man involved in the fight lived in the house, or if police had been called to the house in the past.

County records show the house is owned by Ruperto Briseno and Juan Briseno Ortega, who purchased it in 2009 for $226,000. It was built in 2008.

Friday’s incident is the first Yakima police officer-involved shooting since April 12, 2014, when Rolando Villanueva, 24, was shot by Officer Ira Cavin following a pursuit in which several police cars were rammed.

The shooting was investigated by Yakima police and deemed justified by then-Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty.

Cavin has since been promoted to sergeant.

Yakima police were involved in two other fatal shootings that year.

On Jan. 4, 2014, Rocendo Arias, 23, was shot in a car at a Yakima car wash by Officer Casey Gillette, who said Arias had lunged at him with a pistol that was later discovered to be an Airsoft pistol that shot plastic pellets.

Hagarty ruled the shooting justified.

And on Jan. 3, 2014: Jesse Humphrey, 30, was shot by the Yakima Police Department SWAT team following a standoff that included him firing on Yakima County sheriff’s deputies at a home near Selah. Hagarty declared the shooting justified after reviewing an investigation by the Washington State Patrol.

Two other officer-involved shootings took place in Yakima County that year. On July 11, 2014, Ira Arquette, 42, was shot and killed by a Yakama Nation Tribal Police officer near Toppenish. The shooting was investigated by the FBI and the tribal police, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against the officer, who has never been publicly identified.

And on Nov. 5, 2014, Anthony La Violette, 27, was fatally shot by sheriff’s Deputy Matt Steadman following a high-speed chase. Investigators said Steadman shot La Violette when he drove his car toward the deputy. The shooting was investigated by the State Patrol and Steadman was cleared.

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