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Tuesday, July 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

2 charged in killings on Yakama reservation

UPDATED: Mon., June 10, 2019, 10:30 p.m.

UNION GAP, Washington – Two men are accused of killing five people, stealing a vehicle and holding a gun to a child’s head on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Central Washington.

The killings took place early Saturday in White Swan, a remote unincorporated community at the center of the reservation. One of the suspects, 35-year-old James Dean Cloud, was arrested early Monday after a manhunt involving more than a half dozen law enforcement agencies.

James Cloud and Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud were charged in federal court Monday with assault with a dangerous weapon. Both are members of the Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakama Nation. The FBI is leading the investigation, and additional charges are expected.

As of Monday, authorities had not released the names of any victims, though the Yakima Herald-Republic identified one of them as Dennis Overacker, 61. The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said information about the victims would be released following autopsies this week.

Details about the killings, including a potential motive, remained unclear Monday.

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, authorities received a report of shots fired at 5151 Medicine Valley Road just after 4 a.m. Saturday.

Shortly afterward, authorities arrested a man and a woman who are named in the complaint but have not been charged. They were near a car in the 3400 block of Evans Road, less than 10 miles from the house on Medicine Valley Road, and had been spotted by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office helicopter crew, which was assisting in the search.

The man and the woman told authorities that James Cloud and Donovan Cloud had shot and killed several people at the house, and the four had stolen the car to escape. The car had broken down on Evans Road, and James Cloud and Donovan Cloud had fled on foot toward a residence, according to the complaint.

The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said four people were killed at the property on Medicine Valley Road, and a fifth person was found dead in the car, along with two “injured adults.” It wasn’t immediately clear if those adults were the man and the woman who were detained.

At 4:49 p.m., authorities received another call about a home invasion and robbery on Evans Road, near where the car had broken down. The caller told authorities that two men had approached his house brandishing guns, and one of them had grabbed a child and held a gun to the child’s head. The men demanded car keys, an adult promptly handed them over, and the child “was able to escape,” the complaint states.

Later, when an FBI agent showed a photo lineup to one of the adults present during the robbery, the witness identified Donovan Cloud as the one who held the child hostage, according to the complaint. It wasn’t immediately clear when or where Donovan Cloud was arrested.

The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that three people were in custody but a fourth suspect, James Cloud, remained at large. The sheriff’s office warned that he was armed and dangerous.

At about 2:50 a.m. Monday, someone called the sheriff’s office saying there was a vehicle upside-down in a ditch in the Wapato area, some 20 miles from the crime scene on Medicine Valley Road, according to a news release. The caller also reported that a man was walking around outside their house, yelling.

A sheriff’s deputy found the man at the intersection of Progressive and Campbell roads and recognized him as James Cloud. The deputy attempted to detain Cloud, but he ran into a field and the deputy lost sight of him, the sheriff’s office said. More deputies, state troopers, tribal police and officers from several towns established a perimeter. After about five minutes using a dog to track him, authorities found Cloud hiding in heavy brush.

“He was taken into custody after a brief altercation,” the sheriff’s office said.

James Cloud has a criminal record dating back to 1997, including convictions for burglary, theft, vehicle theft and possession of stolen property. In 2010, he pleaded guilty in federal court to stealing two handguns in a residential burglary in White Swan.

Attempts to reach tribal leaders for comment Monday were unsuccessful.

The Spokesman-Review, the Associated Press and the Yakima Herald-Republic contributed to this report.

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