Trial date set for suspects in massive Walla Walla gang fight

A brawl involving dozens of people broke out in June outside St. Patrick Catholic Church.

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WALLA WALLA -- Four adult suspects accused in connection with a massive gang-related fight that erupted downtown in June pleaded innocent Monday to felony charges of riot and accomplice to second-degree assault.

The defendants are scheduled for trial Nov. 4 and 5 in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Hector Gonzalez, Ricardo Morales Jr., Joaquin G. Ramirez and Ramiro M. Zuniga Jr. are among 10 teenagers and young men who have been charged in the case.

Walla Walla police said the brawl involving 60-100 people occurred shortly before midnight June 13 outside St. Patrick Catholic Church where a graduation party was under way. A group of gang members had started harassing three associates of a rival gang and calling on one of them to fight, according to a police report filed in court.

Those being harassed, including Mario R. Aguayo, left the area and armed themselves with weapons including a baseball bat, wooden club and shovels, officials said. When they returned with another man, Aguayo allegedly was wielding a bat and the fight broke out.

Aguayo suffered a head injury when he was punched and kicked by at least four people, including Andres Torres, according to officials. At least two others were injured in the melee.

Aguayo is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

All the defendants -- except Torres -- accused of felonies were arrested Sept. 3 during a coordinated sweep by about 10 area law enforcement officers. A warrant is outstanding for Torres' arrest.

Two juveniles charged with felonies also were arrested in the roundup. Antonio Carmona-Hernandez, 15, of 308 N. Sixth Ave., and Oscar Palomino, 16, of 708 N. Seventh Ave., Apt. C, pleaded innocent Friday in the juvenile department of Superior Court. They are scheduled for trial Oct. 28 on charges of riot and accomplice to second-degree assault.

Two other people have been charged in District Court with misdemeanor crimes.

Following is more information on the adult suspects charged in Superior Court and the charges against them:

Mario R. Aguayo, 18, 737 N. Seventh Ave. -- riot and second-degree assault.

Hector Gonzalez, 20, 1045 St. John St. -- riot and accomplice to second-degree assault.

Ricardo Morales Jr., 19, 607 E. Sumach St. -- riot and accomplice to second-degree assault.

Joaquin G. Ramirez, 21, 1001 W. Chestnut St. -- riot and accomplice to second-degree assault.

Andres Torres, 18. Charges -- riot and second-degree assault.

Ramiro M. Zuniga Jr., 23, 245 N.E. Elder Place, No. 2, College Place. -- riot and accomplice to second-degree assault.

Terry McConn can be reached at terrymcconn@wwub.com or 526-8319.

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