Arrest made in shooting death of Walla Walla gang member

Benito Gomez, 18, was taken into custody at 2:40 a.m. Saturday.


WALLA WALLA - City police detectives have arrested the person they believe gunned down a 20-year-old rival gang member in an alley Tuesday.

Benito Gomez, 18, was taken into custody at 2:40 a.m. Saturday after an interview that started late Friday night, said Walla Walla police spokesman Tim Bennett. More arrests are expected.

Information gathered after the shooting death of Julio Cesar Martinez led police to Gomez. Police picked him up at a College Place residence Friday. That residence was not his home, police said. According to the booking sheet, he resides at 1107 Willow St.

Gomez was booked into the Walla Walla County Jail for investigation of first-degree murder and six counts of first-degree assault. The latter charges reportedly stem from the other people who were in the immediate area at the time the shots were fired. Police say Gomez is being held in a single cell because of concerns over his safety.

Heightened patrols continue in neighborhoods where gang members are known to frequent, authorities said. Bennett said there have been no signs of retaliation yet, but there has been talk of it, he said.

Details of the shooting are still being sorted out. Bennett said police have not recovered the firearm used in the killing. They're also not saying what type of gun it was.

The shooting resulted in the first known gang-related homicide in the city. It took place shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday in an alley in the 300 block of Myrtle Street.

Martinez, who police say was a known gang member, was walking with a friend when he was confronted by rival gang members. He was shot by at least one person whose face was reportedly covered below the eyes.

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

Bennett said four or five shots are believed to have been fired. Police can account for four of the bullets - two hit a house and two struck Martinez.

Martinez, whose last known address was in Milton-Freewater, was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m. at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.


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