Sunnyside murder trial

Raymundo Casares appears in Yakima County Superior Court as his trial continues Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019 in Yakima Casares is accused of shooting and killing Oscar R. Gutierrez and badly injuring his brother, Jorge Gutierrez on May 9, 2015.

Oscar Garcia-Gutierrez told jurors Wednesday that a man wearing a black shirt, shorts and a red bandanna asked if he and his two cousins were gang members before shooting at them four years ago in Sunnyside.

“He told us: You bang?” Garcia-Gutierrez recalled. “We said ‘No.’ He got his gun and started shooting us.”

Garcia-Gutierrez, 24, wasn’t struck by bullets, but Oscar R. Gutierrez, 21, was killed and Jorge L. Gutierrez, then 20, was badly injured.

Garcia-Gutierrez gave his testimony on the second day of a murder trial that’s expected to last two weeks in Yakima County Superior Court.

Raymundo Casares, 25, is accused of being the triggerman. He’s facing first- and second-

degree murder and first-degree assault charges.

The shooting occurred on May 9, 2015, at an apartment complex in the 1400 block of South Sixth Street in Sunnyside, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Garcia-Gutierrez was at the rear of a car his two cousins were sitting in when a man stared at them from a slowly passing black Honda in the parking lot of the apartments, the affidavit said.

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The car passed by a second time and disappeared around a corner. Moments later a man walked from the corner, asked if they were gang members and began shooting at them, the affidavit said.

Moments later, the black Honda was seen fleeing the area, the affidavit said.

Oscar R. Gutierrez was killed by single shot through his side. His brother, Jorge Gutierrez, was shot several times. Bullets struck his leg and spine, and he remains paralyzed from the waist down. He testified Tuesday.

Deputy Prosecutor Jared Boswell asked Garcia-Gutierrez to sequentially describe the shooting.

Garcia-Gutierrez told jurors that he was doing laundry at his cousin’s apartment. He ran as soon as he heard shots.

“All I remember is Oscar saying ‘No, No, No,’ and he shot Oscar,” Garcia-Gutierrez said.

Garcia-Gutierrez said he returned when the shooter fled, and found Jorge Gutierrez lying in the parking lot and Oscar Gutierrez bleeding in the car.

“So I called police,” he said. “I wanted to get Jorge in the car but he couldn’t move.”

Garcia-Gutierrez said he then drove Oscar Gutierrez to the hospital.

“I carried him inside,” Garcia-Gutierrez said. “He was unconscious.”

Garcia-Gutierrez identified the shooter as having a tattoo under his left eye.

Defense attorney Christopher Swaby probed Garcia-Gutierrez’s accuracy in identifying Casares as the shooter.

He questioned why Garcia-Gutierrez couldn’t identify Casares in a photo montage in which he was included. He also asked why he didn’t immediately share with police photos of Casares he found on Facebook.

Garcia-Gutierrez said he began searching Facebook for Casares because he didn’t see him in the photo montage, and found the Facebook photos of him about two weeks later.

Police arrested Casares on May 21, 2015, after another witness in the area identified him in a photo montage. That’s when Garcia-Gutierrez shared the Facebook photos with investigators.

Garcia-Gutierrez said he didn’t share the photos with police immediately because “I was waiting for them to find him.”

Reach Phil Ferolito at pferolito@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @philipferolito