Sunnyside residents want answers on why arrests haven’t been made after last Friday’s shooting that injured five at the annual Cinco De Mayo celebration. In fact, authorities in Sunnyside say they have received numerous requests “requesting clarification on the release of underage suspects believed to be involved in the incident.”
Sunnyside Police Chief wrote a letter to the community
Sunnyside Police Chief Al Escalera wrote a letter to the community in which he said the department appreciates the investigations and in the letter he explained why the 7 minors who were questioned after the shooting were released without no arrests. He says that “the main factors governing the release of minors are federal regulations.
Chief says they didn’t have enough time to process arrest evidence
Under the Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention Act 2002, juvenile offenders can only be held in a secure environment for six hours. Additionally, state regulations govern the interrogation of minors under Bill 1140 passed in the 2021 legislative session. RCW 13.40.740, which went into effect January 1, 2022, states that officers law enforcement agencies can no longer conduct interviews/interrogations of minors without the minor first having access to a lawyer. A minor cannot waive this restriction even if they want to waive their rights and agree to speak to officers.”
The chief says all of these factors combined did not allow the department time to process and filter the evidence gathered “to develop the probable cause necessary to charge a specific suspect within the timelines set by federal regulations.”
Sunnyside police say they are continuing the investigation
The Chief ends the letter 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 anyone with information, photos or videos of the event contact the Sunnyside Police Department at 509-836-6200 or [email protected]
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