WENATCHEE — A 32-year-old Wenatchee man who served time in prison for a gang-related drive-by shooting in 2003, has been arrested on suspicion of being involved in a drive-by shooting in Malaga that followed the funeral of two boys killed in a Wenatchee fire in 2011.
Juan M. Fernandez was already in the Chelan County Regional Justice Center on narcotics charges when the new booking occurred, said Capt. Kevin Dresker with the Wenatchee Police Department.
The prosecutor’s office has until 5 p.m. Friday to file charges. Fernandez was booked Tuesday night on suspicion of first-degree assault, drive-by shooting, riot with a deadly weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm.
The Tuesday booking is in connection with a drive-by shooting Aug. 17, 2011, at a home on Bainard Street in Malaga. That’s where family and friends of the two boys killed in a house fire Aug. 4, 2011, on Palouse Street in Wenatchee were gathered after the boys’ funeral. The boys, 6-year-old Ricardo J. Alejandre-Garcia and 4-year-old Mariano Alejandre-Garcia, died from smoke inhalation. Their father, Israel Alejandre, suffered serious burns.
During the drive-by shooting, bullets flew in numerous directions as a car, filled with three or four people, fired at mourners; and mourners fired back. No one was injured but bullets hit two nearby houses.
Dresker said the case has been investigated by Chelan County and by the city’s pro-act unit, which handles gang cases. The drive-by shooting is believed to be gang-related, with mourners of being with the Brick City Gang. Dresker said Fernandez is a member Columbus Street 13.
Dresker said physical evidence, which he declined to disclose, and witness statements lead officials to believe they have probable cause to charge Fernandez with the Aug. 17, 2011 shooting.
“He wasn’t the only suspect in the car,” Dresker said. “We are still pursuing other potential arrests. The case is still active.”
Fernandez, who goes by the street name of Crow, was sentenced to nine years in prison for the Aug. 8, 2003, shooting in which two shots were fired from a car at a residence in the 10 block of North Delaware Avenue. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon in that case.
Fernandez had been wanted on narcotics charges in Chelan County but fled to California, Dresker said. He was arrested on the narcotics charges in California four to six weeks ago. Fernandez was transported back to Chelan County about two weeks ago.
The fire on Palouse Street, which killed the two boys, was believed to be arson and gang-related for about a year. On April 4 of this year, police said they believe the fire was accidental and started from a cigarette that had been burning in a chair.
Dee Riggs: 664-7147