Yakima County prosecutors have filed a charge of first-degree assault against a Moxee man accused of fracturing the skull of another man who had objected to being called the N-word.
Andy Gamboa, 52, remains in custody at the Yakima County jail, where he was lodged following his arrest two days after the June 29 incident.
According to the arrest affidavit from investigators, Gamboa and Allumattaye Fiddler, 42, were visiting one another at Gamboa’s home on Beaudry Road when they began arguing over Gamboa’s alleged use of the N-word.
Police said Fiddler, who is black, had objected to the term, leading to a dispute that ended when Gamboa allegedly struck Fiddler several times in the head with a three-foot metal pipe.
Investigators said Fiddler’s skull was fractured and his brain exposed. Gamboa was arrested, and investigators seized a pipe as well as a baseball bat.
Police said the incident took place in front of Gamboa’s 12-year-old son and Fiddler’s wife. They said Gamboa characterized his role as one of self-defense.
Police subsequently booked Gamboa on a suggested charge of malicious harassment, Washington’s hate-crime law, as well as first-degree assault.
Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Ken Ramm said he opted not to file a malicious harassment charge because the men had been friends for years and he didn’t think he could prove a hate crime at trial.
“They traded racial jabs with each other in the past,” Ramm said, adding he can amend the case later if more facts develop. The assault charge against Gamboa includes a two-year deadly weapon enhancement.
According to court records, both men have lengthy criminal records that include felony convictions.
Gamboa’s record includes numerous misdemeanor domestic assault arrests as well as felony convictions in 1997 and 2004 for third-degree assault, a more serious form of resisting arrest.
It also includes an incident in 2003 stemming from a racially charged bar fight at a Yakima nightclub in which Gamboa called a black man the N-word and slashed him several times in the face with a broken beer bottle.
Gamboa told officers he would beat the rap, and eventually plea-bargained it down to reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor.
Fiddler’s record includes several car thefts when he was a teenager, a third-degree rape conviction in 2003 and subsequent failure-to-register convictions.
• This article has been updated to correct that prosecutors did not file a malicious harassment charge.