Teen to be charged as an adult for Union Gap murder

Teen to be charged as an adult for Union Gap murder
UNION GAP, Wash.-- Union Gap Police say they solved a murder case. It started when a man was shot to death two weeks ago. No one wanted to tell officers what they saw.

Juan Venegas sits in court waiting for the judge. The boy is 17-years-old and he's facing charges that could put him away for the rest of his life. Prosecutors say Venegas shot and killed his friend at a party on South 7th Avenue a couple weeks ago.

Debra Moore lives nearby. She saw the trouble the night Juan Hernandez was killed.

"The roads were all blocked off and nobody was coming and going," Moore said. "There was a lot of police activity."

The search for a killer took hours, then days. Police hit roadblocks. Drunk partygoers can follow a code of silence. Many of these people have a reason to keep quiet.

"All the people involved are either associated gang members, have been gang members, or are documented gang members," Union Gap Interim Police Chief Gregory Cobb said.

Someone finally spoke up and broke the case open.

"If your family member was a victim of this crime, how would you -- how would you want-- would you want people that have information to be silent?"

The witness was able to identify Venegas. It turned out the victim and his suspected killer rode to the party together. This is Union Gap's second murder of the year. Both have resulted in arrests.

"It makes me feel a little better that our police department and everyone's on top of everything," Moore said.

Venegas is being charged as an adult due to the seriousness of the crime. Venegas is being charged with first degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree. A five-year weapons enhancement could be added if there's a conviction.