UPDATE - Walla Walla police work to unravel gang homicide case

No arrests have been made in the killing of Julio Cesar Martinez, who was shot twice in the head Tuesday.

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WALLA WALLA -- Police remain hard at work trying to determine who shot and killed an area man in a gang-related homicide this week.

Spokesman Tim Bennett said today detectives are sorting through leads that keep pouring in and are conducting multiple interviews with people who were at the scene, saw subjects flee the area or otherwise have relevant information.

No arrests had been made as of this morning.

Meanwhile, further details about the homicide are being released.

Julio Cesar Martinez, a known gang member, was gunned down shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday while he was walking with a friend in an alley in the 300 block of Myrtle Street. Police believe Martinez, 20, was confronted by rival gang members and was shot by at least one whose face was covered below the eyes.

Three or four rivals of Martinez were seen close to the homicide, Bennett said.

Martinez's friend, identified as Miguel Angel Saucedo, ran for cover and wasn't hurt.

Martinez, whose last known address was in Milton-Freewater, was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m. at Providence St. Mary Medical Center. An autopsy Wednesday afternoon determined the cause was multiple gunshot wounds to the head, according to County Coroner Richard Greenwood.

Bennett said today two bullets struck Martinez's head at "fairly close" range. One was a direct hit, but the other first passed through an arm of Martinez that he was holding up.

The caliber of weapon isn't being released. Police have received conflicting reports of the number of weapons that may have been involved. Multiple rounds were fired, including at least two that struck a nearby house.

Martinez, who reportedly had been released from a jail just that morning, apparently was unarmed at the time.

Law enforcement descended on the area within two minutes of the first call and cordoned off the crime scene for processing. At least one residence was evacuated. No weapons were located.

Meanwhile, police beefed up patrols to counter possible retaliation for the shooting, but Bennett said today no major confrontations occurred overnight.

Martinez's killing is the first known gang-related homicide in the city of Walla Walla.

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

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