Sunnyside Chief Pens Letter to Community After Shooting
Sunnyside residents want answers about why arrests weren't made after last Friday's gang shooting that left five people injured at the annual Cinco De Mayo celebration. In fact authorities in Sunnyside say they've received numerous inquiries "asking for clarifications on the release of juvenile suspects believed to be involved in the incident."
The Sunnyside Police Chief has written a letter to the community
The Sunnyside Police Chief Al Escalera has penned a letter to the community in which he says the department values the inquiries and in the letter he explains why the 7 juvenile who were questioned after the shooting were released without any arrests. He says "the primary factors governing the release of juveniles from custody are federal regulations.
The Chief says they didn't have enough time to process evidence to arrest
According to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 2002, juvenile offenders can only be held in a secured environment for six hours. Additionally, state regulations govern the questioning of juveniles under House Bill 1140 which passed during the 2021 legislative session. RCW 13.40.740, which became effective January 1, 2022,states law enforcement officers may no longer conduct interviews/interrogations of juveniles without the juvenile first having access to legal counsel. A juvenile cannot waive this restriction even if they want to waive their rights and agree to speak with officers."
The Cheif says all of those factors combined didn't allow the department time to 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."
Sunnyside police say they continue the investigation
The Chief ends the letter by saying "we are grateful to our community for their support and understanding and the Sunnyside Police Department continues to aggressively investigate this heinous act. We ask that anyone with any information, photos,or videos from the event please contact the Sunnyside Police Department at 509-836-6200 or at CrimeTips@sunnyside-wa.gov