Yakima Police Involved in Multiple Officer-Involved Shootings - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Police Involved in Multiple Recent Officer-Involved Shootings

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YAKIMA, WA. -- It has been a violent start to 2014 for Yakima Police Officers.

First, just days into the new year, a search warrant in Selah turned into a deadly four hour standoff.

"There were more shots exchanged," Deputy Chief John Durand said at the time of the standoff. "The suspect was shot and at this time the information I have is that he is deceased."

The next night there was another deadly confrontation when an officer was checking up on what police called a suspicious vehicle at Classic Car Wash. The officer opened the door and found 23-year-old Rocendo Arias inside holding what the officer thought was a gun.

"The handgun was a replica of an actual firearm," Captain Rod Light said. "So what I would refer to as an airsoft gun. But they appear very real."

The most recent was Thursday night, when police responded to a domestic violence call.

"Officers tried to order the rifle out of his hand and apparently he did not do so and one of the officers discharged his firearm," Lt. Gary Jones said on scene.

Three shootings in the first three weeks of the year, two ending in death. According to KNDO records, there was only 1 officer involved shooting all of last year and two in 2012. You have to go back to 2011 to see similar numbers, four shootings with two deaths, and we aren't even a month into the new year.

"This is not police officers creating a situation this is police officers reacting to situations that others have created," Capt. Jeff Schneider said.

The Yakima Police Department tells NBC Right Now they have more than 85,000 interactions with the public on a yearly basis and 99.99% of those are non-violent.

"But occasionally someone is going to be extremely violent toward an officer and unfortunately this can happen," Capt. Schneider said. "But we certainly don't want our officers injured and we don't want members of the public injured."

Despite the high number of shootings, police say their number one goal is safety, for everyone.

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