Central Washington town besieged by gang violence

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News and KREM.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on June 1, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 2 at 2:43 PM

ROYAL CITY, Wash. -- The little boy shot this weekend in the head is recovering in Spokane, however police worry that drive-by shooting might have sparked a bigger battle in Royal City, 35 miles southwest of Moses Lake in Grant County.

Royal City, a town with a population less than 2,000, has had its sixth drive-by shooting this year. A 10-year-old boy sleeping in his bed is the latest victim.

Sometime Saturday, the grain silo just south of I-90 was tagged in blue spray paint. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office says it’s the works of gang members. It happened shortly after a drive-by early that morning at a mobile home just outside Royal City.

At least eight bullets struck and one of them hit 10-year-old Malcolm Sanchez in the head. Another flew through the tin wall of another trailer, right above the bed of a family sleeping.

Under sheriff John Turley says the gang problem in this part of the county is growing.

Royal City Police Chief Darin Smith says there have been six drive by shootings within city limits this year, that’s as many as all of last year. Chief Smith says the shootings are getting more blatant and are happening in the middle of the day.

Chief Smith says it used to be a one-gang town. Several years ago, another gang moved in and that’s when the violence escalated. He says he does not know what the gangs are fighting over, but they are getting more violent.

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