Case dismissed in Cinco de Mayo shooting that left five injured in Sunnyside

Case Dismissed In Cinco De Mayo Shooting That Left Five Injured In Sunnyside

Authorities continue to investigate a shooting at the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Sunnyside that sent at least one person to the hospital and shut down events for the rest of the evening.

YAKIMA, Wash. — Much to the dismay of Yakima County prosecutors and the Sunnyside Police Department, the state dismissed State v Angel Damien Mendoza, the case against the prime suspect in a shooting that left five people injured at a Cinco de Mayo celebration in May 2022.

As announced by Yakima County Prosecutor Joseph Brusic, the dismissal was finalized on Sept. 14, 2022 without prejudice because a key witness was unwilling to participate in the trial.

State officials previously obtained a material witness bench warrant to ensure the witness would come forward. By this point, the young male witness had already relocated to California with his family. Although a national warrant was obtained on Sept. 2, he was unable to be extradited back to Washington due to a legal conflict with the state.

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“California law requires all extradition-type hearings to take place before apprehension of the material witness,” Brusic explained. “Working within this procedure, it became clear we were not going to be able to obtain this critical witness in time for trial. Without this witness, the State would not be able to prove this very important case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The incident took place at a Cinco de Mayo festival in Sunnyside on May 6, 2022. A shooting broke out in a crowd of 50 people, leaving five people including several children injured by gunfire. They were all rushed to area hospitals for emergency treatment and were eventually released.

Following an investigation, a juvenile male named Angel Damian Mendoza was charged with five counts of First-Degree Assault. However, Sunnyside investigators struggled to find any witnesses who were willing to provide substantial information. Evidence was scarce, putting the investigation at risk from early on.

“This is truly unfortunate. The Sunnyside Police Department is extremely frustrated, as is the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office, with this development,” Brusic said. “The city of Sunnyside, as well as Yakima County, must obtain justice in this terrible shooting.”

Brusic went on to state that his group will seek further evidence and substantial eyewitnesses to prosecute the case in the future.