Two men suspected in the deaths of five people on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Central Washington held a child at gunpoint and stole a vehicle while fleeing the scene, according to charges filed Monday.
A complaint filed Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Washington charges James Dean Cloud and Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud with assault with a deadly weapon on the reservation.
Charges say they were identified by two witnesses as having “shot and killed several people” at an address in the 5100 block of Medicine Valley Road in White Swan, Yakima County, on Saturday afternoon. Details of the homicides have not been released by the FBI, which is leading the investigation.
According to the complaint, James Cloud, 35, and Donovan Cloud and two other people — a man and a woman who are named as witnesses in the complaint but have not been charged — stole a vehicle from the White Swan address on Medicine Valley Road, where officials said four bodies were found. The car broke down less than 10 miles from the scene and James Cloud and Donovan Cloud left the area on foot. Law-enforcement officials arrested the two other individuals a short time later.
The FBI, which has jurisdiction in the case, said late Monday that two people were in custody for the homicides. The bureau did not identify them.
According to a news release from the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, which assisted in the investigation, two “injured adults” were found with a fifth body in a vehicle in the 3400 block of Evans Road. Based on a comparison of the news releases and the federal complaint, those two injured people appear to be the same couple who told police that James Cloud and Donovan Cloud had killed several people at the address on Medicine Valley Road.
The Medicine Valley Road shootings were first reported at 4:04 p.m, according to the Sheriff’s Office. About 45 minutes later, authorities received a call from a home in the 9400 block of Evans Road, not far from where the vehicle had broken down, and the couple was taken into custody.
The homeowner reported that two men had approached the residence with guns and took a child hostage — holding a gun to the juvenile’s head — and demanded keys for a vehicle. The owner gave them keys, and the complaint states the “child was able to escape the two males.” The juvenile identified Donovan Cloud from a photo montage as the person who held a gun to the juvenile’s head. The child was not able to identify James Cloud in the montage, according to the complaint.
Holding the child at gunpoint and stealing the vehicle is the incident that led to the assault charges, according to the complaint.
The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office reported that James Cloud was arrested about 2:50 a.m. Monday after a resident reported that a vehicle had rolled over in a ditch near Wapato, about 20 miles from White Swan, and that a man was outside yelling.
According to a Sheriff’s Office news release, the man fled into a field when a deputy arrived and recognized him as James Cloud from a police bulletin on the homicides. He was captured after a police dog was brought into the area to track him. James Cloud appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in Spokane on Monday afternoon. Police have a total of four people in custody and said, at this point, no suspects are outstanding.
Details of the homicides on the reservation remain sketchy. The complaint says James Cloud and Donovan Cloud are enrolled members of the Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakama Nation.
White Swan, where the deadly shooting took place, has been a focal point of reservation efforts to reduce crime.
Last year the Yakama Nation Tribal Council passed a resolution declaring a public-safety crisis, specifically citing “rampant crime” in White Swan.
The February 2018 resolution declared that those engaged in “unlawful activities” could be subject to punishments that include jail time, fines and banishment from the Yakama Nation.
“We have crime and malicious activity, assault and abuse of community members happening,” said Esther Moses Hyipeer, a White Swan resident and tribal councilwoman, in a statement released in February about the resolution. “We need to come together to make a positive difference.”
The 2018 resolution also placed an 8 p.m. curfew for youth in White Swan and reopened a tribal police substation in the community.
Tribal Council Chairman JoDe Goudy said public safety continues to be a focus for the Yakama Nation.
“In spite of this unprecedented act of violence Public Safety remains an extremely high priority for our Nation,” Goudy said in an emailed statement. “We are grateful for all the cooperating law-enforcement agencies that led to the apprehension of these dangerous suspects.”
State and federal court records show James Dean Cloud has a significant criminal history dating back to 1997. He has convictions for burglary, theft, possession of stolen property and vehicle theft. In 2010, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for a residential burglary in White Swan in which he stole two handguns.
Staff reporter Hal Bernton contributed to this report.