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14-year-old gang member arrested on cable bridge allegedly killed teen in Tri-Cities robbery

Nov. 22, 2022 Updated Tue., Nov. 22, 2022 at 9:15 p.m.

By Cameron Probert Tri-City Herald

KENNEWICK – A second teen tied to a robbery turned murder is being held on $1 million bail as he faces murder charges.

A 14-year-old boy is facing possible first-degree murder charges in Benton-Franklin Juvenile Court after police say he shot 19-year-old Julian Chavez three times on Oct. 29.

Detectives arrested the gang member on the cable bridge Thursday afternoon after he left a gang member’s home on East Sixth Avenue in Kennewick. The teen had nine bullets in his pocket when he was arrested.

A search of the Sixth Avenue home turned up what police believe is the gun used in the shooting.

Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts pointed to potential danger posed by the teen as a reason to hold him in lieu of $1 million bail.

The other 14-year-old charged in the shooting, Victor A. Cervantes, is also being held on $1 million bail.

Court Commissioner Darin Campbell agreed to the bail in front of a crowded courtroom Friday afternoon. If the teen is released, he is ordered to stay at home and can only leave to go to court hearings.

Prosecutors have until Tuesday afternoon to decide whether to charge the teen.

Prosecutors have asked to try Cervantes in adult court and may do the same with the second teen arrested.

Robbery turned murder

New court documents offer more details about the circumstances surrounding the shooting.

Three teens, including Cervantes and the alleged shooter, were seen in the back of a car. Video and pictures show the suspected killer holding a handgun with a green laser site.

All three are documented members of the Mexican Pride Sureno gang, according to court documents.

The teens and two young women were hanging out on the day of the shooting and went to Cervantes’ house near the murder scene.

According to witnesses, Cervantes and the other teen left the house shortly before the shooting. He said he was going to get marijuana from “the plug,” according to court documents.

Investigators believe Cervantes arranged to meet Chavez at an apartment complex on the 1100 block of West Fifth Avenue in Kennewick shortly before 9:15 p.m.

Cervantes allegedly contacted the older teen using the Instagram account “ak_lokote13” to organize buying $100 in vape pens, marijuana and rolling papers, according to court documents. This was the first time Chavez had dealt with him.

In another message, Cervantes allegedly suggested they should “hit a lick on some plugs,” which is slang for committing a robbery.

According to security video, two people approached the Prius that Chavez was driving, according to court documents. Cervantes is seen walking away from the car while it heads west on Fifth Avenue.

The video shows muzzle flashes from gunshots. Then the Prius moves forward and another flash is seen before it hits a parked car.

Police showed up just a minute after the initial reports of the shooting, according to court documents.

The Washington State Patrol Crime Lab found the bullets had punched through the back of the driver’s seat and broken a window in the car. At least one .45 caliber round was found in the back seat, and several shell casings were found.

Police also discovered Chavez’s cellphone in the car, revealing his conversation with ak_lokote13. When police searched the car, they didn’t find any vape pens, marijuana or rolling papers.

The three people in Cervantes’ home heard the gunshots, and after the two other teens came back inside.

Cervantes came back inside panicked, and said he thought he got shot and then went outside again and ran around the house before returning inside.

According to the witnesses, he was “all spooked” and kept saying, “I think I got shot,” before calming down.

After the shooting, the gunman allegedly told Cervantes to delete his Instagram account. While he did deactivate it, police were able to recover information from it.

Shooter’s arrest

About two weeks after Cervantes’ arrest, police tracked the other teen to a home on East Sixth Avenue. A gang-member lives at the home and is a friend of the suspected killer.

Detectives saw the teen get into what turned out to be an Uber and head toward Pasco. Officers stopped the car on the cable bridge and arrested him.

At the same time, police got a search warrant for the Sixth Avenue home. Inside they found a .45 caliber handgun that had rounds that matched those found at the murder scene, according to the documents.

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