'Any one of us could be next, they're random shootings'

'Any one of us could be next, they're random shootings'
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Two gang-related shootings minutes into the new year just a dozen blocks away from each other on North 5th Avenue and North 6th Street.

Jamie Kleinow lives nearby.

"It doesn't surprise me," Jamie said. "It's been happening the whole year-and-a-half that I've been living in this area. People are getting shot for no reason at all. It's ridiculous."

Police say Jamie is right.

Officers say both victims of Tuesday's shootings appear to be random targets, not active gang members.

Detectives say these types of shootings are typically based on territory in Yakima: East versus North Central.

A fired-up gang member will drive into the opposing area to shoot anyone in sight.

Officers say it's a way to gain status or make waves in the gang community.

"I have a nephew that wears red sometimes in this neighborhood and he's been chased down twice," Jamie said. "You know, we've had guns pulled and it's scary."

Police say the random targets are typically victims of drive-by shootings. Action News covered at least a dozen in 2012.

Officers say there's little they can to do prevent this kind of violence.

We spoke to other neighbors on 5th Avenue and in surrounding areas. Some of them tell Action News they've had friends and family who were shot in recent months. But, none of them would talk on camera because they say they have to live by a code of silence in order to not become a target themselves.

"It could happen to anybody. Any one of us could be next," Jamie said. "They're random shootings. Whether you're in a gang or not, it doesn't matter."

Now, battles for turf could get more people caught in the middle.