WAPATO — Police are looking into ways to clean up a troublesome stretch of North Track Road where one home in particular has seen violence that has resulted in three homicides since 2008.
The most recent killing was late Sunday, when 19-year-old Abel Velazquez was gunned down at the residence in the 4500 block. He died of a single gunshot wound to the torso, Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins said Monday.
“That block, it’s a hot spot,” Police Chief Tracy Rosenow said. “We’re going to start looking at the residence and that stretch of block. We’re going to see if there is anything in the nuisance ordinance we can use.”
Two others also were shot in the incident, a 17-year-old boy whose name police didn’t release because he’s a juvenile, and 26-year-old Marlowe Olney.
Both were taken to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. The teen was treated and released; Olney was in stable condition Monday night, a hospital spokeswoman said.
It’s the second time Olney has been struck in a shooting. In February, he was shot in the head at Crossroads Market just down the road from Sunday’s shooting.
Now, police are not only trying to sort out details in the most recent shooting, but are looking for ways to rid the town of the gang violence that has surrounded that home for several years.
“Something like this comes up and you say, ‘How many times have we been there in the past five years?’ ” Rosenow said.
Mayor Jesse Farias said the city will have to look at how other cities have put a lid on such violence.
“We’re going to have to do a lot of research to see what we can do,” he said. “I’m concerned about the violence that’s taking place in that neighborhood.”
Gang trouble at the house surfaced in 2008, when 16-year-old Ricky Cabrera, who lived there, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting while walking to Crossroads Market. Family said he wasn’t a gang member, but admitted that his older brothers were.
Then in February 2010, Manuel Angel Garcia, 28, was struck and killed by a bullet in a drive-by shooting while visiting the home.
Sunday’s shooting was different in that the victim was struck at close range, Rosenow said. “It was up-close and personal as opposed to a drive-by shooting.”
Two women standing outside the home Monday morning admitted the shooting occurred at their residence, but did not want to talk about it.
The motive is still being investigated and witnesses are not cooperating with police, Rosenow said.
“The witnesses present should be able to tell us who the shooter was, but we’re not receiving cooperation from them.”
The family owns the house, so there is no landlord to pressure, Rosenow said.
Police have already stepped up patrols in the area, but the department isn’t large enough to put an officer there around the clock, he said.
“We’re going to take an active approach in this and see if we can do something about this,” he said. “We’ll get through it.”
• Phil Ferolito can be reached at 509-577-7749 or firstname.lastname@example.org.