Third suspect arrested in connection with drive-by shooting; gang unit to be formed


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King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht announced that a third suspect has been arrested in connection with the fatal, tragic drive-by shooting that killed Gabriela Reyes-Dominguez on Sept. 19, and also announced the formation of a regional gang unit at a press conference held on Monday afternoon, Sept. 24.

The suspect – who was arrested on Saturday – was a juvenile male who was believed to be in the suspect vehicle; no other details have been released.

Here’s part of what the Sheriff said:

“First I want to express my condolences to the family of Gabriela Reyes-Dominguez. Her senseless death is a tragedy; my heart breaks for her loved ones. This innocent women thru no fault of her own, found herself in the crosshairs of an escalating war between rival gangs. This violence needs to stop. People should be able to go to work, or to school, or to the grocery store and expect they can return home safely to their families and friends. I will do everything I can do in my power to make sure that they can. But this is a mission that’s much larger than me right now.

As you know, the quick work of our detectives lead to the arrest of two suspects not long after the shooting. On Saturday we arrested a third, and we believe that person was in the vehicle. Right now our detectives in the Prosecutor’s Office are working nearly around the clock to sort out which role which person had or may have played in this extreme act of violence. That’s what we’re doing right now…but what can we do going forward?

Today Executive Dow Constantine forwarded his proposed budget to the King County Council. I am grateful that he included funds that will help us form a regional gang unit in King County to focus on the continuing and growing gang problem and escalating war between the two factions in the south end of King County. As King County Sheriff I am stepping up to take the lead on this regional task force and approach to gang violence. I am reaching out to other chief law enforcement officers, other police chiefs and other cities to help join us at the table and to continue the work I started as the precinct Major in Burien, to work together and improve investigations of crimes of violence and to do some other outreach work there. With the Executive’s backing and the council’s, we hope to add a sergeant and a detective to the gang unit, and again as I said to work with those other agencies to contribute personnel. Their focus will be fighting crime, but also our gang unit will provide support to schools, to help educate them on what gang behaviors are and what recruitments efforts are being made in the schools and to help work together with them and to work with parents to help them know what and how to combat it if they see it. Kids need better choices than gangs, we all know this – this isn’t a surprise it’s been going on for years. A regional gang task force is a first good step towards accomplishing a mission in reducing crime, extreme violence and unwanted drive-by shootings and bad behavior…that has taken an innocent life in King County. Through these efforts we hope to restore safety and security in our neighborhoods.”

Here’s more from KCSO on the gang unit:

Working with King County Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht and her staff, Executive Constantine proposed funding for two additional positions to be assigned to the newly formed Sheriff’s Office Youth & Family Investigative Unit. The $842,280 investment for a detective and sergeant is part of the $398,170,000 proposed budget for the Sheriff’s Office.

Executive Constantine will transmit his 2019-2020 budget proposal to the King County Council on Sept. 24.

“My proposed budget makes significant investments in families and communities so that young people get a strong start in life. We must use every tool at our disposal to turn adolescents away from a life of violence, and ensure that our neighborhoods are safe,” said Executive Constantine.

“With these additional resources, the Sheriff’s Office will be better able to partner with other King County programs and community organizations to offer youth a better path, and a more secure future.”

The positions will allow the Sheriff’s Office to take a leadership role in forming a Regional Gang Unit to address gang violence in our communities. “I am incredibly grateful for Executive Constantine’s vision and support as we work to combat gang violence and guide our youth toward better alternatives and brighter futures,” said Sheriff Johanknecht.

The Sergeant and Detective will work in tandem with other members of the KCSO Youth and Family Investigative Unit to address trends in youth crime by educating families, school faculty, and affected communities on juvenile gangs and their recruitment efforts. The detective and sergeant will act as a liaison between families and juvenile justice intervention programs, and assist school resource officers in addressing gang activity on their campuses.

These positions align with the Equity and Social Justice Initiative by investing in both community relationships and child development, with the goal of diverting youth away from gang involvement by immunizing them against gang recruitment efforts.

The budget transmittal on Sept. 24 is the first step in a two-month public review process leading to final adoption by the King County Council in November.

Here’s raw video from the Sheriff’s press conference:

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