After an outpour of community questioning, Chief Al Escalera with the Sunnyside Police Department released an explanation of why seven minors with suspected involvement in the shooting at the Cinco de Mayo festival were let go. 

Many factors were considered, according to Escalera, including the time needed to process and understand the evidence. But it primarily came down to federal regulations, like the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2002, which says minor offenders cannot be held for more than six hours. 

Additionally, RCW 13.40.740 requires minors to speak to legal counsel before officers interview them. 

“All of these factors combined, placed the department in a position where we could not process and filter the evidence collected to develop the probable cause necessary to charge a specific suspect within the time limits set by federal regulations,” said Escalera. “We are grateful to our community for their support and understanding and the Sunnyside Police Department continues to aggressively investigate this heinous act.” 

Anyone with information or footage is asked to contact Sunnyside police at 509-836-6200 or