Detective: Chavira shot outside store

Testimony at a coroner's inquest suggests Cesar Chavira, 114 feet from the New York Store, may have appeared to be armed.

Dan Blasdel, Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel listens as Walla Walla County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gabe Acosta questions potential jurors during the opening this morning of a coroner's inquest into the shooting death of Cesar Chavira.

Dan Blasdel, Franklin County Coroner Dan Blasdel listens as Walla Walla County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Gabe Acosta questions potential jurors during the opening this morning of a coroner's inquest into the shooting death of Cesar Chavira. Photo by Andy Porter.

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Cesar Chavira was 114 feet away from the New York Store when store owner John Saul fired the first shots at Chavira after an early morning break-in May 4, according to testimony in the second day of a coroner's inquest into Chavira's shooting death.

Testimony from Walla Walla Sheriff's Office Detective Gary Bolster indicated Chavira may have had shiny belt buckles in his left hand and was standing with his left side facing the store, possibly giving the appearance he was armed.

The inquest, which began Wednesday morning, continues today.

According to testimony Wednesday from Walla Walla police and Walla Walla County sheriff's deputies, Saul stated he heard someone break into his store just after 2 a.m. May 4. Saul said the burglar threatened him, and Saul defended himself with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Officer Ascencion Castillo said he was the first to arrive at the scene of the shooting, and he discovered Chavira lying in the road, roughly 75 yards from the store.

"It was pretty obvious he was shot in the back," Castillo said, adding that Chavira was "taking his last breaths" when Castillo arrived.

Testimony from crime analyst technician Matt Stroe with the Sheriff's Office and Deputy Steve Duehn indicated five shotgun shells were found outside the store.

Other witnesses included New York Store employee Mary Pounds and Chavira's girlfriend Myra Urincho.

Other witnesses scheduled for today include Dr. Daniel Selove and Randy Holbrook.

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