Two men who were shot early Sunday in the parking lot of a Spokane Valley restaurant told investigators they were randomly targeted by a stranger who fired at their moving car, according to court documents.
Spokane County deputies on Sunday arrested Rafael Castellano De Paz, 40, on suspicion of first-degree assault and possession of a stolen firearm.
De Paz appeared in Spokane County Superior Court on Monday and faced a $250,000 bond for the alleged assault on two male victims, who were identified in court documents as Victor M. Alejandro Juarez, 32, and Antonio Villasenor, 33.
Juarez and Villasenor told detectives that at 1:56 a.m. they were leaving Marando’s Bar & Grill in Villasenor’s Nissan Frontier when they both heard gunfire. Villasenor said he heard what sounded like a bullet strike the back of his vehicle, so he returned to the parking lot to confront two men because one of them had a pistol in his hand.
Villasenor told investigators he stayed in the car, while Juarez exited to approach the men. In the confrontation, the man holding the pistol shot at them again, according to Juarez and Villasenor’s statements.
One bullet grazed Villasenor’s chin and another struck Juarez in the upper right chest.
Villasenor drove himself and Juarez to MultiCare Valley Hospital, where Juarez was treated for a single gunshot wound. Both men were in stable condition as of Sunday afternoon, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.
While at the scene, detectives did not find suspects or the victims – they were already at the hospital – but they did find four bullet casings from a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol, according to the affidavit.
After interviewing other witnesses at the restaurant who described the incident and the suspect’s vehicle, a deputy located De Paz and his acquaintance near South Skipworth Road. In a nearby yard, the deputy found a .22-caliber pistol matching the casings found at Marando’s. Both men were detained.
Detectives also reviewed security footage of the parking lot, which showed a man later identified as De Paz leaving the bar and firing at Villasenor’s car.
The surveillance video also showed that when Villasenor returned to the lot, the man in the footage fired more shots during the confrontation.
Detectives found “bullet defects” on the door of Villasenor’s car as well as blood on the steering wheel, according to the affidavit. They found bullet defects in a few of the windows of Marando’s, consistent with defects from a .22 caliber bullet, the affidavit said.
De Paz’s friend said he knew De Paz entered Marando’s with a pistol on him. Police collected the friend’s DNA and then released him. Police then arrested and charged De Paz with first-degree assault.
A check of the pistol’s serial number showed it was reported missing in November 2020 by a man in Moscow, Idaho. Police contacted the man, who told them he did not know De Paz or the acquaintance, and that neither man had permission to have the gun. They then charged De Paz with possessing a stolen firearm.
De Paz was booked into Spokane County Jail, where he remained Monday night on $250,000 bond. His arraignment is scheduled Dec. 7.
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