Prosecutor's Office Says Officer Involved Was Justified - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima County Prosecutor's Office Says Sunnyside Officer Involved Shooting Was Justified

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SUNNYSIDE, WA - The Yakima County Prosecutor's Office has released their findings on an officer involved shooting back in March.

The prosecutor's office says Sgt. J. Cunningham was justified in shooting 27-year-old Ramon Ayala. Ayala was killed in the shooting.

The incident started when officers responded to a 9-1-1 call where the caller said there was a man firing a gun in the area of Tacoma and Harrison Avenues.

Sunnyside Police say when they got the scene, Ayala was standing on the corner of Tacoma and Harrison Avenues, right outside a busy convenience store, firing a gun into the air. Early reports said he also shot the store, but an employee said that wasn't true.

When Sgt. Cunningham and another officer arrived, they say Ayala ignored their instructions and turned the gun toward them. That's when officers opened fire.

Sgt. Cunningham fired his gun, and hit Ayala. The shooting happened in a residential area where there was both pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

It was later learned that Ayala had made the 9-1-1 call before walking to the intersection with the gun and firing it.

In cases involving this type of incident, it is standard practice and protocol to call an outside agency to investigate. This case was investigated by Washington State Patrol and forwarded to the Yakima County Prosecutors Officer for determination.

Sgt Cunningham is a 23 year veteran of the Sunnyside Police Department and is currently assigned to the Patrol Division. He was promoted to Sergeant in 2003 and worked as a Patrol Sergeant from 2003 until 2005. Sgt Cunningham was then assigned as the Detective Sergeant 2005 until 2011 at which time he rotated back to Patrol Sergeant.