15-year-old charged with murder considered a flight risk

15-year-old charged with murder considered a flight risk »Play Video
Photo by Matt Finn, Action News

YAKIMA, Wash. -- The 15-year-old boy charged with 1st degree murder in a fatal shooting made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon. The judge set bail at $500,000.

The boy is considered a flight risk. Prosecutors said he had five previous warrants.

Now prosecutors are considering whether to try the 15-year old as an adult. He stood in juvenile court Wednesday for his involvement in fatal gang shooting that took place less than 24 hours ago.

A 15 year old suspect in juvenile court accused of killing 26-year-old Octavio Rangel in Downtown Yakima. Police say both the suspect and victim have gang ties.

 It begs the question: How does a 15-year-old get sucked into the gang life?

"Our youth is looking for some direction and when they're not finding it in either sports, they're not finding it in school they're not finding it at home. They tend to look elsewhere. And unfortunately that's when they find themselves vulnerable to gangs," said Sgt. David Cortez of the Yakima Police Gang Unit.

Cortez says it's common for gangs to recruit children as early as middle school. He says it's no surprise to see the teenage suspect charged in this latest shooting .

"He's not necessarily your typical 15 year old that one day was going to school and doing fine and the next day he's out there involved in street gangs carrying a gun and then using it," he said.

There are warning signs like poor performance in school and getting into trouble. Schools typically sound the first alarm by getting in touch with parents about the change in behavior. There are options to redirect troubled kids, but those choices are limited.

"We have a variety of prevention type programs out there in place." Cortez said. "To go ahead and have some more -absolutely. Because everything begins with education if you can educate their minds and redirect them into a different road we can actually hopefully save a lot of these young people's lives as well as their futures."



Police say this 15-year-old suspect went down the wrong road a long time ago. Prosecutors say there were five other warrants against him before the deadly shooting. Another hearing this Friday could determine whether the teen will be prosecuted as an adult.

On the prevention front, Yakima's Gang Free Initiative is scheduled to launch within the next month.  Recommendations for partners will go to City Council in November.


Action News is not revealing the suspect's identity because he is a minor.