Torres arrested in connection with I-90 shooting

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Richard Byrd/Columbia Basin Herald Jesus Torres appears in Grant County Superior Court on Tuesday.

MOSES LAKE — A judge did not find probable cause for charges against a Royal City man who is suspected by police to have been involved in a shooting that left two men injured in Moses Lake over the weekend.

Grant County prosecutors charged Jesus Torres, 22, of Royal City, in Grant County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree assault and a single count of drive-by shooting. After a lengthy discussion on Tuesday Judge David Estudillo did not find probable cause for the charges, meaning Torres will be released from custody without bail being set and without conditions imposed for his release. Torres was directed to return to court on Dec. 11 for his arraignment, at which time the probable cause issue is expected to be argued further by the prosecution and defense.

In the evening hours on Saturday several shots were fired from a large caliber weapon into a vehicle on the Interstate 90 off-ramp to Hansen Road near Moses Lake. Two men were struck by the gunfire and transported to Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake.

Moses Lake Police Department Capt. Dave Sands said detectives developed information about the suspects and suspect vehicle, a silver Chevrolet Impala, that was spotted at a residence in the 1400 block of Craig Street, in the Larson community. Detectives knew that Jesus and Jonathan Torres, who are brothers and have gang ties, were associated with the Impala and surveilled the vehicle. Jesus reportedly exited an apartment in the area and drove away. He was stopped by police after a brief drive and detained.

A search warrant was obtained for the apartment Jesus came out of and police reportedly recovered a loaded rifle magazine and loose ammunition, which were the same make and caliber as the shell casings located at the scene of Saturday evening’s shooting. A warrant was also served on the Impala, which turned up a .380 handgun, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

“Detectives will be working with GCSO detectives to determine if this is the same ammunition used in another shooting earlier this month in Royal City,” Sands stated.

Sands said additional charges will likely be forwarded to the prosecutor’s office as the investigation continues. Detectives are continuing to search for Jonathan in connection with the shooting.

The Royal City incident mentioned by Sands relates to a Nov. 14 shooting that left a 44-year-old Royal City man injured. Police announced they were seeking the Torres brothers for questioning and Jesus later provided police with a statement. Jonathan did not contact police and is still wanted for questioning. Police described the suspect vehicle as a dark-colored 2008 Lexus Sedan license plate No. BAX4819, which Jonathan is said to drive regularly.

The Nov. 14 shooting took place on Juniper Circle in Royal City, which is the same street the Torres brothers fled to and were apprehended on following a July 2017 shooting in Moses Lake. In that incident Jesus was involved in a brief scuffle with a rival gang member and they both ended up being ejected from Apex Cannabis.

The prosecution contended that the Torres brothers got into a Lexus driven by Jonathan and followed the vehicle the rival gang member got into. Prosecutors argued Jesus fired several shots into the vehicle, one of which struck the female driver in the back of the head. They were each charged with first-degree assault and drive-by shooting but were found not guilty by Judge John Antosz in a bench trial.

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

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