YAKIMA — The only thing marking the site Tuesday where police say four of the five people were killed on the Yakama Indian Reservation over the weekend is a piece of crime-scene tape, tied to a fence post and fluttering in the hot breeze.
All of the victims lived in and around the town of White Swan, a small community in the heart of the 1.1 million-acre reservation in Yakima County. In recent years, the area has been beset by property crime in the wake of a drug epidemic, mostly methamphetamine. But the area is no stranger to violent crime, and homicides are not unheard of.
But the magnitude of the mass murder Saturday has left everyone stunned.
“My family moved away from Salem (Oregon) in 1980 to get away from crime in the city ” said John Thompson, a 35 year-old who has a home on an unpaved road near the site where four of the victims were found.
He described the community reaction as one of shock. “People are just taken aback by the whole situation,” Thompson said.
On Tuesday, the Yakima County coroner released the identities of four of the five victims: Catherine Eneas, 49; Dennis Overacker, 61; Michelle Starnes, 51; and Thomas Hernandez, 36. All were fatally shot and found in a trailer off Medicine Valley Road in a desolate stretch of reservation outside White Swan.
The fifth victim was identified Wednesday as 59-year-old John Cagle. He was found in a vehicle along with two injured individuals, identified as a man and a woman, about 10 miles from the trailer where the other bodies were found, according to police statements and federal court documents.
Yakama Tribal Chairman JoDe Goudy said in a prepared statement that, “Despite this unprecedented act of violence, public safety remains an extremely high priority for our Nation.”
Two men, James Dean Cloud, 35, and Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud, 32, are in federal custody, indicted by a federal grand jury in Eastern Washington on Tuesday with carjacking and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence. The three-count indictment overrides a federal assault charge filed Monday, but it stems from the same incident in which police said the men forced their way into a home where Donovan Cloud allegedly held a gun to a child’s head while stealing a pickup after the deadly shootings.
No homicide charges have been filed.
The FBI, which has jurisdiction on the reservation, has released almost no information since the killings, other than to say that two people have been arrested.
However, the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office and the federal assault complaint indicate that James Cloud and Donovan Cloud, along with another man and woman, stole a vehicle from the trailer where the bodies were found and drove for about 10 miles before the car broke down. They left the couple — both of whom were injured, however, it’s not clear how badly — and walked to a nearby home where they allegedly assaulted the child and stole another car.
The criminal complaint stated that the man and woman found with the vehicle told investigators that they had witnessed James Cloud and Donovan Cloud kill “several people” at the trailer. The charges said they were arrested; however, they have not been charged and, based on statements from the FBI, are not suspects in the homicides.
Jillian Voight, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Seattle, said Tuesday the bureau had nothing new to say about the killings.
The mass shooting is the deadliest in Washington state since Sept. 23, 2016, when Arcan Cetin, 20, allegedly gunned down five people inside the Macy’s department store at Cascade Mall in Burlington, Skagit County. Cetin later hanged himself in his cell at the Snohomish County Jail.
Hal Bernton reported from the Yakama Indian Reservation. Mike Carter reported from Seattle. Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this story, which includes information from The Associated Press.