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Deputy injured in Ephrata shooting

by EMRY DINMAN
Staff Writer | November 19, 2020 12:00 AM

MOSES LAKE — A Grant County Sheriff’s deputy was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries after Jesus Torres, 24, reportedly shot him in the foot while fleeing law enforcement early Wednesday morning.

Torres, of Royal City, was suspected of robbing two Moses Lake businesses Tuesday afternoon, including Hawk Fuel and a small grocery store located in the area of West Broadway Avenue and South Ash Street, said Kyle Foreman, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.

Moses Lake police identified Torres soon afterward, according to a MLPD social media post, as he was caught on surveillance camera, and began searching for him. He was apparently armed with an AR-15-type rifle and/or a handgun.

Shortly after midnight, a deputy reportedly spotted Torres approaching Ephrata on state Route 282, and initiated a traffic stop. However, Torres did not stop.

Torres also allegedly opened fire on pursuing deputies, striking Deputy Jeff Wentworth, 41, of Ephrata, in the foot, after a bullet passed through his patrol vehicle. Wentworth was released from Columbia Basin Hospital at about 3 a.m. Wednesday. Another sheriff’s vehicle was struck, but that deputy was uninjured.

Torres reportedly continued to fire at deputies as they pursued him to state Route 17 and Road 19 Northeast, where deputies performed a pit maneuver and his vehicle spun into a field.

The Columbia Basin Investigation Team was activated to help investigate. MLPD is leading the investigation, while the GCSO is providing updates on the injured deputy.

Torres allegedly surrendered to law enforcement officers, after attempting to flee on foot, and was taken into custody without further incident.

He was charged for investigation of the two robberies. The assault/pursuit investigation is underway and charges will be upcoming.

Torres has previously faced charges in connection with a 2018 drive-by shooting, though assault and drive-by charges were dismissed with prejudice last year after Torres pleaded guilty to lesser drug possession charges.

Torres and his 22-year-old brother Jonathan, who is currently serving a 20 year sentence after pleading guilty to murdering his father in 2018, were also previously found not guilty in connection to a 2017 shooting.