The King County Prosecutor’s Office is reporting that the last two remaining defendants charged in a July 23, 2011 shootout at an unauthorized car show and rap concert in Kent have pleaded guilty.
The Prosecutor’s Office charged a total of seven defendants in the car show shootout that left 12 people wounded. A 13th person was wounded in a subsequent drive-by shooting later that evening in an apparent act of retaliation. All seven have now been convicted.
The defendants are identified members of the Playboy-Surenos street gang. Investigators pieced together the events of the Kent car show shootout through painstaking efforts after forming the South King County Gang Violence Initiative. Detectives from the Kent Police Department led the effort, but nearly a dozen police agencies contributed to the investigation. Investigators, facing a chaotic crime scene and uncooperative witnesses, were able to build a solid case.
They exhausted numerous evidentiary avenues, which included using: firearm tool mark evidence, text messaging records, fingerprints, social media, cell-phone tracking technology, jail phone call recordings, and video surveillance
“This startling shootout in broad daylight at a shopping mall coalesced law enforcement and the community in South King County to take a stand against gang violence,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.
Last week, the court accepted guilty pleas from the two remaining defendants, Isai Hernandez and James Lopez, for their involvement in the shooting. Hernandez pled guilty to a charge of Drive-By Shooting and Lopez pled to a charge of Rendering Criminal Assistance in the First Degree. In all, six defendants pleaded guilty and one was convicted at trial. Here’s a summary of the charges:
- Nicolas Moreno, 24, pled guilty to one count Assault First Degree with a Deadly Weapon Enhancement. Prosecutors will recommend a total of 147 months, which includes 24 months on the Deadly Weapon Enhancement. Sentencing is set for August 22 before Judge Bill Bowman.
- Ignacio Vasquez-Trevino, 22, pled guilty to Assault First Degree with a Deadly Weapon Enhancement and was sentenced to 124 months, which includes a 24-month Deadly Weapon Enhancement.
- Martin McSmith, 24, pled guilty to Assault First Degree with a Deadly Weapon Enhancement and was sentenced to 124 months, which included a 24-month Deadly Weapon Enhancement.
- Isai Hernandez, 21, pled guilty to a charge of Drive-By Shooting, which carries a sentence range of 21 to 27 months. Sentencing is on August 18. The defendant would likely get credit for time served, but would still face a mandatory 18 months of community custody.
- James Lopez, 20, pled guilty to Rendering Criminal Assistance in the First Degree and faces a sentence range of 6 to 12 months. Sentencing is set for September 3.
- Shea Auble, 24, pled guilty last year to Rendering Criminal Assistance in the First Degree. He was sentenced for both the rendering criminal assistance, as well as some unrelated charges, and received a 41-month sentence.
- Patrick Auble, 32, was convicted by a jury of Rendering Criminal Assistance in the First Degree and was sentenced to one year in jail (work release). He hid one of the vehicles that carried shooters away from the scene and threatened to destroy evidence.
The complex and challenging investigation was expertly handled by Detectives Phil Johnson and Heather Vance of the Kent Police Department. Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas was instrumental in the response and in the formation of the South King County Gang Violence Initiative. The prosecution team consisted of a highly-experienced staff, which included Senior DPAs Karissa Taylor and Dan Soukup and paralegal Lindsey Thomas.