Alleged gang member sentenced in chase

Cisco A. Gonzalez will be incarcerated for a year after a guilty plea to an obstruction charge.

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WALLA WALLA -- An alleged local gang member who fled from a vehicle into Fort Walla Walla Park early last month resulting in a tense search by authorities was sentenced this morning to a year in a state juvenile facility.

Cisco A. Gonzalez, 15, was handed the exceptionally long term of incarceration by Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann. The usual, standard-range sentence Gonzalez faced was up to a month in the county's Juvenile Justice Center. But Lohrmann went along with a prosecution recommendation for the 52-week term of confinement.

Gonzalez -- who already has served 51 days in local detention -- has a lengthy criminal record and was on probation when his latest offense occurred. In addition, according to a predisposition report by Court Services Probation Officer Becky Renwick, he "has a history of behavior problems in school, drug use, and gang involvement."

Renwick said in court this morning that the longer, state institutional confinement will give Gonzalez a structured opportunity to continue his education and participate in drug and alcohol counseling.

Gonzalez's attorney, Jim Barrett, asked for a standard-range sentence with mandated drug treatment. But, enumerating Gonzalez's prior behavior problems and crimes, Lohrmann told the defendant, "It seems to me something has to get your attention more than business as usual."

As required by law, Lohrmann gave Gonzalez credit for the 51 days he's already served.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty Dec. 30 in the court's Juvenile Department to the charge of obstructing a law enforcement officer. In exchange, the prosecution agreed to drop a charge of second-degree driving with a suspended or revoked license.

Gonzalez was arrested Dec. 1 after a College Place police officer stopped a vehicle -- which had been driven erratically -- at the west entrance of Fort Walla Walla Park shortly before 10 a.m. that day, officials said. The driver, later identified as Gonzalez, got out of the vehicle and was holding what appeared to be a handgun, according to authorities. Gonzalez then reportedly made a derogatory comment and ran south into the wooded area.

Backup law enforcement units were called and the area was surrounded. A Walla Walla police officer saw Gonzalez in the woods where he was captured about 11:10 a.m., authorities said.

Officers searched for a gun, but none was found.

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

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