One Kennewick Man Dead After Christmas Eve Stabbing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATED: One Kennewick Man Dead After Christmas Eve Stabbing

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Gerardo Villamar Jr., 23, of Kennewick Gerardo Villamar Jr., 23, of Kennewick

UPDATE / KENNEWICK, WA - Kennewick Police say they now believe a homicide on Christmas Eve may be related to street gangs. 

Officers are still looking for one more man in connection with the death of 23-year-old Gerardo Villamar Junior. 

Police booked 24-year-old Rafael Nieto, 23-year-old Erick Nieto, and 39-year-old Jose Vazquez-Villanueva into the Benton County Jail on rioting charges Christmas morning. Officers say all three had been fighting alongside of Villamar the night he died.

Investigators say they believe the other man they're looking for may be gang affiliated, but not necessarily a rival gang member. Officers say they don't know exactly who the man is, but they say he had been armed with a knife when he ran off after the fight. 

Officers say they have now found both cars they were previously looking for. Police have now impounded the car that drove Villamar to the Trios ER, and plan to search it for potential evidence. 

The Benton County Coroner plans to perform an autopsy on Villamar's body on Thursday. Police say he had suffered multiple stab wounds in his back during the fight.


PREVIOUS COVERAGE: KENNEWICK, WA - Kennewick police are investigating a Christmas Eve homicide. Officers say just before midnight, they heard reports of a fight in the 300 block of E. 2nd Street.

A resident living nearby say they heard a bottle break and saw two men running away. A little later, Trios ER called Kennewick police to report two stab wound victims. Gerardo Villamar Jr., 23, of Kennewick had stab wounds in his upper back.

Erick Nieto, 23, had stab wounds in his upper left arm and right hand. Nieto was released from the hospital. Doctors were unable to stabilize Villamar and he died of his injuries.

"You will never be forgotten and I'm glad that I have you as my angel because I can trust you with my whole life and heart," said Villamar's step sister Dayana Villamar.

"I'm going to miss him so much. Seeing all the stuff of him in my house just makes me really sad," explained Stephanie Villamar, Gerado's cousin.

Police detained another man, 24-year-old Rafael Nieto, walking away from the ER. He told officers the fight happened in the street near 2nd and Beech Street. Around 12:30 a.m., a third stab wound victim walked into Trios. Jose Vazquez-Villanueva, 39, had two stab wounds in his upper right arm. He was also treated and released.

Officers eventually arrested and booked Erik Nieto, Rafael Nieto, and Vazquez-Villanueva for rioting. Rafael Nieto also had an outstanding warrant.

Criminal Investigation Division Detectives worked overnight with interviews and crime scene processing.

They say the four men in the fight are related. Police believe that they were coming from a nearby holiday party. They also say a white Sedan was seen in the area at the time of the stabbing.

They believe the person in that car may also have been involved in the fight.

"Some of the people that they talked to believe that there's a possibility that it may have been two vehicles that were seen at the scene," said Sgt. Mike Genack of the Kennewick Police Department.

Officers say the three men will remain in the Benton County Jail until they see a judge. They are all currently refusing the talk.

If anyone has any additional information, call CrimeStoppers at 586-TIPS or 1-800-222-TIPS or the Kennewick Police Department at 628-0333.

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