3 facing charges in connection with Ephrata injury shooting

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EPHRATA — Two men and a woman are facing charges in connection with a shooting in Ephrata earlier this month that left a man injured.

Facing charges in Grant County Superior Court are: 21-year-old Juan Valentin, with two counts of first-degree assault, 24-year-old Sheena Montalvo, with a single count of attempting to render criminal assistance and 25-year-old Peter Flores, with a single count of possession of a controlled substance. Valentin’s bail has been set at $500,000, while Montalvo’s is set at $100,000. Probable cause was not found for Flores’ charge and he is not currently lodged in the Grant County Jail.

Ephrata Police obtained footage from surveillance video that reportedly shows a white Ford pickup truck, driven by a female with a male in the passenger seat, pull up to the Short Stop gas station on Basin Street in the evening hours of Sept. 6.

A white Honda Accord showed up after that and parked on the east side of the gas pumps. At some point the male in the Ford, Francisco J. Romero, “appears to look over at the white Honda Accord.” After the glance Valentin reportedly exited the Honda, walked to the trunk, retrieved a black item “similar to a wadded up T-shirt," went back to the driver’s side door where he reportedly leaned in toward the car momentarily, stood up straight and tucked “something” into his waist band.

Valentin then entered the store, after which a motorcycle can be seen driving by on Basin Street. Romero allegedly made a hand gesture toward the motorcyclist, Flores, and Flores proceeded to turn around and park in front of the Ford. Flores reportedly can be seen communicating with Romero and when Valentin exited the stored Flores turned his attention to him. Court documents indicate the three men are gang members.

“It appears words are being exchanged between Valentin and the motorcyclist when Valentin produces a handgun from his front waistband and fires numerous shots at the motorcyclist,” wrote an EPD detective.

One of the rounds struck the front windshield of the Ford, which prompted Romero to exit the truck and begin firing/exchanging shots with Valentin. After the volley of shots Valentine can reportedly be seen speaking with Montalvo, after which he proceeded to flee the area on foot.

Flores was found suffering from gunshots wounds to his abdomen and arm a few blocks away from the scene of the shooting. He was later airlifted to Confluence Health-Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee for treatment. Before he was airlifted a small plastic baggie containing heroin was found in one of his socks.

The female driver of the Ford reportedly returned to the vehicle after the shooting, gathered a bag, which was later found in a dumpster behind a business in the city, and fled the area as well by heading west across Basin Street. Montalvo, who is Valentin’s girlfriend, remained at the scene and reportedly picked up shell casings near the Honda. She later admitted to picking up the shell casings and said she was going to throw them but she got scared and dropped them.

“During a recorded interview with (another officer) later on, Montalvo said she was picking up the casings and intended to throw them but she stopped after she realized there were surveillance cameras. When asked why she was collecting the casings, Montalvo admitted she was trying to keep Valentin from getting into trouble.”

Romero was detained at the scene as well, but he was ultimately released due to police determining he wasn’t a suspect at that time. Romero was not willing to provide a statement after he was told he wasn’t a suspect and he walked away from the scene on foot after he was by police.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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