Authorities are investigating after a Yakima police officer shot and killed 24-year-old Rolando Villanueva after a high speed pursuit Saturday night.
YAKIMA, WA - Authorities are investigating after a Yakima police officer shot and killed 24-year-old Rolando Villanueva after a high speed pursuit Saturday night. This was the 5th officer involved shooting of the year. Three have resulted in deaths.
With three deaths coming at the hands of police officers this year, people in Yakima may be worried about how aggressively officers are apprehending law breakers. The police department looked to addressed those questions Monday.
This is a scene Yakima has seen often this year. Five times officers have used their guns on a suspect. Three times ending a life.
"It seems as if the criminal element is much quicker to go hands on or go to the guns and go toe to toe with the police versus how it was 10 to 15 years ago," Captain Rod Light of the Yakima Police Department said.
Officers are trained to only use deadly force when protecting themselves or the safety of the public. The police department says the way Rolando Villanueva was driving his green Honda Accord Saturday night endangered everyone around him.
That caused officer Ira Cavin to shoot at the car three times on the Nob Hill on-ramp to Highway 82. Striking him twice, in the chest and the arm. He later bled to death.
"We have to reflect back over the years past where individuals driving erratically has cost private citizens their lives," Captain Light said. "So the attempt was to get him stopped."
Investigations have determined the previous deadly shootings were justified but that doesn't change the perception some people in Yakima may have.
"There's going to be be a faction in any community that's not going to agree with what the police do," Captain Light said. "They're going to find fault in what we do but the greater majority of the people if you look out there support the police."
The Yakima Police Department says while they would like to minimize all violence they respond to each situation individually and the most important thing is safety for the officers and the public.
Officer Ira Cavin has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation, which is Yakima Police Department protocol.