YAKIMA, Wash. — In response to concerns about two fatal shootings near West Valley Middle School in the past six months, the Yakima City Council will conduct a public safety forum Monday.
Councilwoman Holly Cousens called for the forum Tuesday during a council meeting. Cousens represents District 7, which includes West Valley Middle School.
“I think it’s important we give District 7 a voice in improving public safety in the West Valley area of town and hope that we can come to some solutions,” she said. “The input we receive from the community will help the city address public safety concerns.”
On July 19, Eduardo Rodriguez-Castaneda, 19, of Tieton was found slumped over in a pickup in the middle school parking lot, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. David Paul Ortega Jr., 17 at the time of the slaying, was arrested several days later. He is facing a charge of second-degree murder as an adult.
Four months later, on Nov. 23, Davontae R. Mesa, 16, was fatally shot at West Valley Community Park, on South 80th Avenue. The park property is adjacent to the middle school.
Cameron Jay Helland, 18, is being held in the Yakima County jail on a charge of second-degree murder.
Mesa’s companions told police that the shooting happened as Mesa was trying to buy marijuana from Helland.
The forum will be an open, special meeting of the council beginning at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Harman Center, 101 N. 65th Ave.
For more information, call Cousens at 509-823-0444.