Walla Walla A man who shot at rival gang members following a confrontation in the 300 block of North Sixth Avenue in October was sentenced Monday afternoon to six years in prison.
Joseph D. Dejesus — who pleaded guilty last month to four felonies — faced a standard-range penalty of five years and seven months to seven years and five months.
The 72-month sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge John Lohrmann was recommended by the prosecution in a plea agreement.
Lohrmann gave Dejesus, 21, credit for the 196 days he’d already served in the County Jail and placed him on 18 months of community custody, a form of probation, when he’s released from prison.
Before the sentenced was imposed, Dejesus — who has no violent criminal history — apologized and told Lohrmann, “I just want to better myself.”
Dejesus explained he eventually wants to complete his education and not get into trouble again.
Lohrmann later warned him not to participate in future gang activity. Lohrmann also advised Dejesus to “reflect on what your activity was and what you want to do with the rest of your life.”
Dejesus pleaded guilty May 24 to one count of drive-by shooting and three counts of second-degree assault, agreeing the crimes were related to gang activity.
Police said he was a passenger in a Nissan Pathfinder that drove by the house at 308 N. Sixth about 3 p.m. on Oct. 8. After an argument ensued with a rival gang member and others who came out of the house, Dejesus reportedly fired three or four shots from a .22-caliber handgun.
Birzavit Carmona Hernandez, 19, was shot in the leg and taken to Providence St. Mary Medical Center, where he was treated and released.
Dejesus initially was charged with seven counts of first-degree assault, and one count each of drive-by shooting and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Had he been convicted of those charges, he would have faced a standard range of 70 to 90 years in prison. But Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Golden said in an interview he agreed to reduce the case because reluctant witnesses and conflicting accounts could have been problematic had the case gone to trial.
Dejesus was a victim in an unrelated shooting at which one man was killed in May 2011 in an alley in the 300 block of Myrtle Street. Dejesus, who was not injured, testified last week at that murder and assault trial of Benito Gomez.