A 35-year-old Yakima man was struck by bullets Sunday in a drive-by shooting in the 2400 block of West Chestnut Avenue.
Police responded to the call about 5:20 p.m. and found Jonathan Spear lying on a sidewalk while a neighbor provided first aid, according to a Yakima Police Department news release.
Spear was taken to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and then flown to Harborview Medical Center, the release said.
Spear underwent surgery Monday, according to a GoFundMe account set up by his brother, Caleb Spear.
“They have fused multiple vertebrae, and it is doubtful he will ever walk again. Fortunately, Jonathan is still with us and is expected to retain use of his upper body,” Caleb Spear said on the account.
Spear told police he was working in his yard when he was shot, the release said.
Witnesses said they saw a blue Ford Taurus speed away from the area immediately after shots were fired, the release said. Officers impounded a car they believe was used in the shooting, said YPD Capt. Jay Seely.
Police found a shell casing in the road near the intersection of 24th and Chestnut avenues, the release said, adding that detectives and members of the department’s Major Crimes and Gang units are investigating.
“There is no indication this is gang-related and the motive is unclear at this time,” Seely said in the release.
In a follow-up email, Seely said the shooting appears to be random, and police are increasing patrols in the neighborhood.
Seely said the shooting has shaken up the neighborhood.
“The area of Barge-Chestnut is generally a quiet neighborhood filled with people walking and kids playing,” he wrote in the email. “That peacefulness was shattered Sunday evening when a coward shot a man who was tending to his garden. The neighbors are concerned for their safety and rightfully so.”
Spear is a board member of La Casa Hogar, a nonprofit geared toward supporting Latino families. According to his biography on the La Casa Hogar website, he moved to Yakima in 2018 with his wife, Valerie, having spent parts of the prior decade promoting public health in Lima, Peru, working as a Medicaid benefits educator in Colorado and coordinating clinical trials in Portland. He is a custom carpenter by trade, according to the bio. He has also volunteered at the Yakima Rotary food bank.
“When he’s not working, Jonathan can be found puttering in the garden, exploring the great outdoors, volunteering at the Yakima Rotary Food bank or reading a book,” the bio says.
According to the GoFundMe account, which had raised more than $35,000 by 3:30 p.m. Monday, Spear’s wife, Valerie, is pregnant.
Police urge anyone with information about the shooting to contact the department at 509-575-6200 or 911. Tips also can be reported to Yakima County Crime Stoppers at 800-248-9980 or online at www.crimestoppersyakco.org, or through the “P3 Tips” app at http://p3intel.com/mobileapp.htm that can be downloaded for free.