Police Say Yakima's First Homicide of 2009 Was Justified Self-Defense - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Police Say Yakima's First Homicide of 2009 Was Justified Self-Defense

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YAKIMA--Police are investigating Yakima's first homicide of 2009 as an act of self-defense.
Police say Michael Valadez fatally shot Frank McWain last night.   They said the shooting is justified because McWain was attacking Valadez, so he fired in an effort to protect himself.

It was about 11 Monday.  Police got a call of shot fired on the 800 block of N. Second St.   Michael Valadez surrounded to police.  Officers found Frank McWain in front of this house.   Here's what police say happened:  McWain attacked Valadez, from behind with a stick, knocking him down.  McWain demanded money, valadez give it to him.  Then, the victim shot the attacker.  Valadez has a concealed weapons permit.  

"After hearing Mr. Valadez's story, talking with some of the other people in the area and looking at the physical evidence, we believe that what Mr. Valadez is telling us is what actually did happen," Yakima Police Capt. Greg Copeland said.

Police say Valadez had a severe head injury and a broken arm.

McWain's criminal history includes six felonies since 1996 and nearly 30 misdemeanor charges.  Valadez said he was on Second St. to pick up a friend and claims he had never met McWain before last night.  Police don't have a motive for the crime.

"We think Mr. Valadez was there to pick up his female friend and Mr. McWain kind of inserted himself into the situation," Copeland said.

  Police believe the shooting was justifiable and do not plan to file any charges.

But we wanted to know, when is use of deadly force allowed?  We talked to local attorney Greg Scott of Scott Law Firm.  This is what he said.

"The question is whether the amount of force that you are using is reasonable,"  Scott said.  "There's no magical formula, it's going to depend on the facts and circumstances."

Police will submit their finished investigation to the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified.  Greg Scott told KNDO that the final say belongs to prosecutor's office.   Frank McWain's family was deeply saddened but not ready to talk about what happened Monday night.