Police radio recordings from officer-involved shooting
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A suspect surrounded after a police chase on Interstate 82. Rolando Villanueva was killed moments later by an officer's bullet. That officer is back on the job after last month's shooting. Now, KIMA has obtained the radio communications of the chase.
KIMA filed a public records request to get this information. There's no official decision whether the shooting was justified. However, Officer Ira Cavin has returned to patrol. The radio communications from officers describe what they saw during the chase.
"Shots are fired," an officer says over the radio. "Shots are fired. Close the air."
Backtrack about five minutes from those chilling words. Officers on South Fair Avenue were looking for suspects involved in a robbery.
"All three were on bicycles," an officer says over the radio.
At that time, one officer came across 24-year-old Rolando Villanueva, who he thought was driving dangerously. The officer tried to pull him over, but Villanueva didn't stop.
Instead, police say Villanueva led them on a chase, hitting cars that got in the way.
"He wrecked my vehicle," an officer says over the radio.
In a matter of moments, Villanueva's car was on I-82, and he was being followed in an all-out pursuit. Police say anyone driving in the area around him was in danger.
"Two more cars, and a third," an officer says over the radio.
Investigators say Villanueva came off the interstate at Nob Hill Boulevard, but then got right back on. Then, his car got stuck in the median, and officers surrounded him. Police say his foot was on the gas, kicking up gravel from his tires.
"It was clear this guy, this individual, the suspect wasn't going to stop and wasn't going to give up," YPD Capt. Rod Light said.
Police say if the car got any traction, officers could die. Then, radio communication from a K-9 officer arriving on the scene.
"I'm riding with a dog, where do you want me?" an officer asks over the radio.
"Shots are fired. Shots are fired. Close the air."
"Shots fired, close Channel One. Channel One emergency traffic only."
"They had to make a very quick decision and to neutralize the threat, and there was a significant threat," Light said.
Villanueva was killed. Police say there was no way around it.
YPD identified Officer Ira Cavin as the one who shot Villanueva. He's back on the job with his normal responsibility after being cleared internally.
Police say Cavin's case will be handed over to the prosecutor's office this week. Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty tells KIMA he hasn't received the reports yet, but expects them in the next couple of weeks. It will be up to him to determine if the deadly force was justified.