12/18/2014

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Yakima shooters walking free? Dozens of YPD cases lead to no arrests

Yakima shooters walking free? Dozens of YPD cases lead to no arrests
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YAKIMA, Wash. – John Rosales of Yakima says it's all too often he hears gunfire in his neighborhood. He says stray bullets have flown through his house and his mother's.

"If you hear that sound it's sharp and you just hope that you don't get shot,” John said.

The sound of bullets is one that rings often in Yakima. KIMA has covered multiple shootings in recent months where there were ultimately no arrests.

Just last week, a man was shot at six or seven times in broad daylight near 11th avenue. Many of the bullets hit near an exit door of a busy office building. No suspects were arrested.

KIMA spoke with an YPD crime detective to find out why.
"Uncooperative witnesses or victims,” YPD Detective, Kasey Hampton said.

Police say witnesses like John are often too afraid to tell police what they saw or heard.

"Retaliation here, it's like it can either go through your house,” John said. “Do something to your house, or do something to your family."
Detectives say the shooting victims themselves often refuse to talk with police. Without testimony from either side, it's almost impossible for police to press charges.

"From the crime scene we're able to tell what happened. But the victims or witnesses they can usually tell us the why or who,” Kasey said.

Kasey says suspects who get away with shootings seem to build a sense of confidence that they can do it again. Leaving neighborhoods like John's open to more violence.

John says during daylight hours his neighborhood is OK. He's not afraid to walk the streets. But it's at night when things become much more dangerous.

"It gets pretty wild at night, it's like one of those deals, don't trust nobody because you never know what can happen,” John said.
It means not knowing if you'll be an innocent bystander in the next shooting.

Police say half of those 65 cold cases or gang-related. Officers say gangs will punish snitches on the street or in jail.
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