Union Gap police Thursday arrested the prime suspect in last month’s killing of an innocent bystander at the Valley Mall.
Jonathan Edgar Navarro, 26, of Toppenish was taken into custody without incident in the 2700 block of Fifth Street in Union Gap, said Chief Greg Cobb.
He’s accused of killing Jose Rivera De La Cruz, 23, of Wapato on Aug. 22, when he opened fire on two cars believed to be occupied by rival gang members, police said.
“The Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force was instrumental in locating and assuring he was taken into custody without incident,” Cobb said.
Navarro, a documented gang member, will be booked into the Yakima County jail, Cobb said.
Police continue to search for another man believed involved — Henry N. Zuniga-Soriano, Cobb said.
He’s accused of rendering criminal assistance, Cobb added.
Navarro was charged two days after the homicide with first-degree murder and five counts of second-degree assault in Yakima County Superior Court.
Video surveillance showed him firing at a car driving the parking lot; police found 14 shell casings at the scene and De La Cruz lying motionless with a gunshot wound to his right armpit, the affidavit said.
Police said the shooting apparently stemmed from an earlier clash between the two groups that had nothing to do with De La Cruz. Officers have stressed that De La Cruz was not a gang member.
Police urge anyone with information about the case to call the department at 509-248-0430 or Yakima County Crime Stoppers Hotline, 800-248-9980.