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Officer and Suspect ID’d In Weekend Shooting

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The Yakima Police officer involved in last weekend’s fatal shooting on a freeway on-ramp has been identified as a nine-year veteran of the force. Thirty-three-year-old Ira Gavin is currently assigned to the traffic enforcement unit.

Meanwhile, the man fatally shot by Gavin has been identified as 24-year-old Rolando H. Villanueva.

This was not the first run-in Villanueva has had with Yakima Police. In 2010 he was involved in a standoff with police in which he threatened “suicide by cop.”  He was arrested, pleaded guilty to felony harassment and was sentenced to 90 days in jail in that incident.

Yakima Police say an officer attempted to pull over Villanueva Saturday night for erratic driving and he attempted to flee. The chase ended on the Nob Hill on-ramp, where police say the driver rammed several cars and was shot.

This is the fifth officer-involved shooting in Yakima this year resulting in three deaths. Gavin is on paid administrative leave while the incident is being investigated.

Yakima Police Chief Dominic Rizzi Jr. has no answer for the number of shootings, but he says his officers are out there trying to stop criminal activity.

“This guy was using his vehicle as a weapon in an attempt to injure or kill an officer or other people out there. If we didn’t stop him, who knows, there’s a strong possibility that someone else could’ve been killed. Maybe an innocent family, or someone not involved in the incident.”

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