Court records show the 19-year-old arrested in connection with Tuesday’s fatal drive-by shooting in Auburn is a well-known gang member who was sentenced to community service last week after he was arrested in August on suspicion of stealing a pickup.
A 19-year-old man who was booked into jail Thursday in connection with a fatal drive-by shooting in Auburn on Tuesday evening is well-known to police as a “violent street-gang member,” court records say.
Froilan Hermenegildo was arrested Wednesday along with his 16-year-old girlfriend at the girl’s mother’s house in Auburn, according to a probable-cause statement outlining the police case against him.
A King County District Court judge found probable cause to hold him on investigation of two counts of homicide, assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of a stolen vehicle, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. Bail was set at $2 million.
The 16-year-old also made a court appearance Thursday, with a judge finding probable cause for first-degree rendering criminal assistance and possession of a stolen vehicle, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. Over the state’s objection, the court released her to her mother, he said.
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The Seattle Times does not typically name juvenile defendants.
Formal charges are expected to be filed against both suspects on Monday.
Around 5 p.m. Tuesday, 19-year-old Angel Mireles was fatally shot near 17th Street Southeast and B Street Southeast by a gunman in a dark-colored Acura, police said at the time. Mireles’ stepfather, Mark Rivera, 41, was critically wounded and died Wednesday afternoon at Harborview Medical Center.
Rivera’s 13-year-old son, who witnessed the shooting, was not hurt.
The probable-cause statement revealed that as in past criminal cases against Hermenegildo, he was quickly recognized by an Auburn police detective, who knew him from “numerous prior police contacts.”
The 13-year-old boy told police the gunman was driving a black Acura and pulled up alongside him and his relatives at a bus stop and engaged his older brother in conversation, the statement says.
The younger boy told police the conversation seemed to escalate and Mireles walked toward the vehicle, according to the statement. Hermenegildo said something along the lines of: “You got a problem or are we good?” to which Mireles replied: “I ain’t got a problem. Do you have a problem?” the statement says.
When Hermenegildo pulled a gun, Mireles tried to grab it from him and was shot, the statement says. Rivera ran to Mireles, who had fallen down in the street next to the car, and Rivera was shot once in the face, it says.
Hermenegildo then pointed the gun at the 13-year-old, who ran west on 17th Street Southeast as another shot was fired. He later told police “he believes the male suspect was attempting to kill him as well,” the statement says.
After the car sped east, the boy returned to the scene, dug a cellphone out of his brother’s pocket and dialed 911, the statement says.
A man who had been working on his car outside his house also called 911 and provided similar descriptions of the shooter and his vehicle, according to the statement.
Five hours after the shooting, Puyallup Tribal Police found the Acura — which had been stolen in Federal Way a few days earlier — abandoned in Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood, the statement says. Apparent blood spatter was found on the exterior of the driver’s door, it says.
Based on the witness descriptions, police located video-surveillance footage from a gas station about a block from the shooting scene, the statement says. Six minutes before the shooting, Hermenegildo was seen parking at a pump then walking inside to pay — and a detective quickly identified him from the footage, the statement says.
The detective identified Hermenegildo as “a known documented Rancho San Pedro Pee Wee Surenos gang member,” the statement says.
Rivera’s 13-year-old son later picked both Hermenegildo and his 16-year-old girlfriend out of police photo montages, the statement says.
According to court records, Hermenegildo has two felony convictions from earlier this year.
Last week, he was sentenced to community service after serving more than a month in jail for taking a vehicle without permission in August, court records say.
He was also arrested in January after Auburn police, responding to a report of gunfire, found a loaded 9-mm pistol in a Honda, the records say. Another officer immediately recognized the 19-year-old, who was a passenger in that vehicle.
That officer knew Hermenegildo to be a member of a gang “known to frequent the south Auburn area,” say charging papers in that case.
The document notes that “there have been officer-safety bulletins advising officers he was rumored to possess a firearm” and that Hermenegildo is a “violent street-gang member.”
He pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm in March and was released from jail in May, court and jail records show.
Rancho San Pedro (RSP) is a Latino street gang named for a housing project in Southern California and is said to be connected to the Mexican mafia.
Hermenegildo is of Filipino descent, “but other RSP gang members believe he is Hispanic and looks Asian,” say charging documents in a 2012 juvenile robbery case.
Hermenegildo also pleaded guilty in that case, court records say.