Five YPD officers on paid leave following three officer involved - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Five YPD officers on paid leave following three officer involved shootings

Posted: Updated:

12-28-17 UPDATE:

YAKIMA, WA - Five officers with Yakima Police are now on paid administrative leave after three officer involved shootings in Yakima in two days.

Two suspects have died and a third is in Harborview in Seattle with non-life threatening injuries.

"I don't think we've even had two officer involved shootings in a 24-hour period before," said Captain Jeff Schneider with YPD. "It's obviously very unusual for law enforcement to face this level of threat." 

Wednesday morning, Gabriel Zavala was shot near a home on 12th and Viola Avenues. Police believe he may be connected to a shooting yesterday in Union Gap.

YPD says he exchanged gunfire with officers in at least two locations, and rammed a patrol car.

29-year-old Adrian Escobar was shot and killed by 8-year veteran Officer Booker Ward at an apartment on 3rd Avenue and Pierce Street.

During a five-hour standoff with police, authorities say Escobar was firing at officers after someone living in an apartment called 911 saying he was drunk and claiming he shot two people. Around 12:30 a.m., Escobar again opened fire on police and Officer Ward returned fire, killing him.

31-year-old Jose Garcia died after being shot at the Cascade Apartments in downtown Yakima by Officer Shane Stevie and Officer Patrick Shad. Officer Stevie has been with the department for three years; Officer Shad for just one.

Garcia was a blind man, but also had an extensive criminal history. Cascade Apartments residents called 911 after he began threatening people with a gun. Officers Stevie and Shad had obtained a warrant and were trying to arrest Garcia, but Yakima Police say the situation deteriorated and shots were fired.

Washington State Patrol is investigating two of the shootings. YPD detectives are investigating the others.

Capt. Schneider explained during Wednesday's press conference why WSP isn't handling all of them.

"Two of the five state patrol districts detectives are in Yakima handling investigations," he said. "Obviously the state patrol has a fairly large scope of responsibility. They can't dedicate all their detectives to the City of Yakima. So we have to share that responsibility with the state patrol." 

Yakima Police will release the names of the two officers involved in Wednesday morning's shooting at 12th Avenue and Viola Avenue on Thursday. But with five officers on paid leave, it leaves a big hole for YPD, and other officers are now working overtime and coming off vacations to cover shifts.

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12-26-17 UPDATE:

YAKIMA, WA - A deadly Christmas in Yakima, as two suspects were shot and killed by police. Both crime scenes - just miles apart.

According to a YPD press release, officers responded to a 911 call at around 7 p.m. last night about a drunk 28-year-old man at an apartment on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pierce Street. He was claiming he had shot people.

When police got to the scene they tried to approach him, but when they did, they say he placed a gun to his head. This made the officers back off, but then the suspect began firing shots at them.

Additional officers and the Benton County Regional SWAT Team were called to the scene, and for the next five hours there was a standoff.

While police tried to negotiate with the man, he continued to fire shots at officers. Then at about 12:30 a.m., the suspect fired again at police, and that's when a SWAT officer returned fire - killing him.

That officer was placed on routine administrative leave. Police have not released the suspect's name.

Washington State Patrol is now handling the investigation.

The second fatal police shooting took place less than three miles away. Yakima Police say residents at the Cascade Apartments on 1st Street and Pendleton Way called 911 about a man threatening people with a gun.

The suspect - a 31-year-old blind man - barricaded himself in his apartment. Police say he had an extensive criminal history of assault, and they spent the next five hours trying to negotiate with him. Eventually, they got a warrant.

When officers got into the apartment, YPD says "after a few minutes, the situation deteriorated and two officers fired shots at the suspect, killing him."

Those officers are now on routine administrative leave and the suspect's name has not been released.

The City of Yakima announced today there will be a press conference tomorrow at 1 p.m. At that time, Yakima Police will release the names of the three YPD officers involved in both deadly shootings.

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BLIND MAN OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING - ORIGINAL STORY:

YAKIMA, WA - Yakima Police detectives will be investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting. Neighbors reported a man threatening them with a gun around 7:30 Monday night at the Cascade Apartments on 20 E Sgt. Pendleton Way. 

When officers got there, they contacted the 31-year-old suspect who barricaded himself in his apartment and was acting erratically. According to a press release from YPD, that suspect was blind and had an extensive criminal history of assaultive behavior.

Over the next five hours, police tried negotiating with him. Officers at the scene said he was allegedly talking as if someone else was inside. 

Officers got a search warrant, eventually making their way inside. Officers negotiated for a few more minutes before the situation deteriorated and two officers fired at the suspect, killing him. Investigators did find a gun inside the apartment

The officers who fired the shots are on administrative leave which is standard protocol.

This is a developing story. 

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28-YEAR-OLD OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING - ORIGINAL STORY:

YAKIMA, WA - Washington State Patrol is investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting. Police got a call of an intoxicated man claiming he shot people on the 300 Block of W. Pierce Street around 7:00 Monday night.

When officers got there they contacted the 28-year-old suspect who put a gun to his head and threatened himself. Police backed out of the home and called for help. 

The suspect started firing shots at officers from inside. That's when called Yakima Police and Benton county Regional SWAT units for more help. Over the next 5 hours officers tried negotiating with the suspect as he continued to fire shots at officers. Negotiators found out two more people were in the home at the time. 

Around 12:30 a.m. The suspect fired at officers and a SWAT officer returned fire, killing the suspect. 

Washington State Patrol is investigating. The officer involved is on administrative leave which is standard protocol.

This is a developing story. 

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