Investigation continues in shooting death

Authorities are trying to piece together what happened before the shots were fired.


WALLA WALLA - The investigation continued Saturday into a shooting that left one man dead and deputies searching for answers to what happened just before several shotgun rounds were fired early Friday morning during a burglary attempt at the New York Store, 2254 Isaacs Ave.

Investigators with the Walla Walla County Sheriff's Office said that on Friday at 2:30 a.m., Cesar Chavira, 22, was shot and killed by store owner John Saul, who may have fired as many as five shots at Chavira.

"He (Chavira) was stealing belt buckles and belts and was confronted by the store owner," Walla Walla County Undersheriff Edward Freyer said, adding it was unclear how much time elapsed during the incident. "We don't know the exact timing and sequence, but at some point in time gunshots were fired."

On Friday, Freyer told a reporter for KTEL that Saul provided a "very limited statement" and then asked to speak with an attorney.

"We accommodated him and once his legal counsel got involved we haven't been able to get any more information from him," Freyer said to the reporter.

The shooting has led to more than 300 postings on the Union-Bulletin Facebook page in less than 30 hours, including at least one comment from Mark Fullen, who operates a Tri-Cities-based security business.

In his comment, Fullen claimed to have viewed the surveillance video from the shooting.

In a Union-Bulletin interview, Fullen declined to comment on the tape and would not confirm if he had turned over a copy to authorities.

Sheriff's investigators could not be reached on Saturday to confirm if they had surveillance video of the shooting.

An autopsy was performed on Chavira on Saturday, but it is uncertain what details will be released.

In a conversation on Friday, Walla Walla County Coroner Richard Greenwood said he was uncertain what information he would be able to provide to the media due to the ongoing investigation.


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