An organizer hopes to raise a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of a 30-year-old Yakima man’s killers.
Tony Sandoval, who is also a candidate for Yakima City Council, said $249 has been raised so far, and he plans to solicit additional funds at Yakima County Soccer League games, where Oscar Hondal-Lopez used to play.
“In the 20-some years I have been involved (in the community), I have never seen the community this upset,” Sandoval said.
Hondal-Lopez was killed and his wife, 26-year-old Patricia Leija, was wounded in a drive-by shooting in the 1200 block of Cornell Avenue on June 10.
Police said the couple were in the area looking for a house for sale when they were harassed by gang members in a car. Hondal-Lopez sped away, but their assailants chased them, firing multiple shots at Hondal-Lopez’s car, police said.
He was struck in the neck with a bullet and died at the scene, while Leija was hit in the hip, police said. She was treated and released from a local hospital.
Neither Hondal-Lopez nor Leija had any ties to gangs, police said.
“This guy was clean,” Sandoval said.
Hondal-Lopez was a mechanic at Roy Farms in Moxee and played in the soccer league. Another player said they nicknamed him “Payaso” — Spanish for clown — for his light-hearted disposition on the soccer field.
“He was always cracking jokes and had an outgoing personality,” recalled the player, who asked not to be identified.
Sandoval said he and others will solicit donations at soccer games, and encourage people to take donation canisters to local businesses to further raise money. The initial goal, he said, is to raise $500, with a secondary goal of $1,000.
The reward money will be handled by Yakima County Crime Stoppers, Sandoval said.
Hondal-Lopez’s death was the sixth homicide in Yakima this year and the 14th in the county.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Yakima police at 509-575-6200 or Yakima County Crime Stoppers at 800-248-9980. Tips can also be submitted online at http://www.crimestoppersyakco.org.