- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—MOUNT VERNON — Police Chief Jerry Dodd decried two drive-by shooting incidents that occurred within 24 hours over the weekend, including one in broad daylight as a television news camera rolled, saying Monday that the incidents “are senseless acts of violence against our neighborhoods” and that arresting the culprits is the top priority.

“We know the need to thoroughly investigate these, and we are,” Dodd said.

The shootings occurred just a week after a fatal drive-by shooting in Mount Vernon on Interstate 5 that killed two men. Police do not know if there’s any connection, but are looking into the possibility, police Lt. Chris Cammock said Monday.

No one was harmed in the most recent incidents, but at least three homes in the neighborhood appeared to have been hit by bullets, police said.

Wh i l e s h o o t i n g s d o s o m e t i m e s h a p p e n i n Mount Vernon, multiple incidents that share characteristics and occur in a short time frame are uncommon, Dodd said. He asked residents to allow time for the investigative process to work, acknowledging that some may want immediate justice.

Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau said she has trust and confidence in the city’s police department and will give detectives all of the resources she can.

“It’s dramatic, and it’s scary,” she said Monday. “We hate to think this could even happen in our city, but it doesn’t define what Mount Vernon is about.

“We think we’re immune, which is why prevention and having good social programs to prevent this behavior is so important.”

Mount Vernon police detectives are still looking for the shooters in both incidents, the first of which occurred about 11:15 p.m. Friday in the 900 block of South 27th Street when a person inside a car reportedly opened fire as a man stood outside his home. Police found the suspect’s vehicle several hours later abandoned in the 2300 block of East Section Street. The car had been reported stolen out of Moses Lake, according to police.

The second incident happened about 5:15 p.m. Saturday in the same part of town.

A KO M O 4 N e w s reporter and photographer were preparing for an interview near the scene of the previous shooting when two vehicles sped past and turned onto East Section Street. The sound of gunshots was reported from where the vehicles were last seen, police said.

The shooting incidents came one week after a burst of gunfire from a dark-colored pickup truck killed Miguel Angel Lopez, 21, and Leonardo Salinas-Lopez, 20, both of Mount Vernon. The two were driving July 18 northbound on Interstate 5 south of College Way with another passenger, who survived.

The shooter or shooters remain at large, according to the State Patrol, which is leading the investigation with aid from the Mount Vernon Police Department and the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office.

While Friday’s incident on 27th Street appears to have been aimed at a specific home, a target of the gunshots Saturday evening is more difficult to determine, Cammock said.

Police released photos Saturday of two vehicles believed to have been involved: a silver sedan and a dark-colored minivan. The images are blurry and obscure the vehicles’ license plate numbers. An outline of the sedan driver’s head is visible, but it is not clear if anyone else in the vehicle, nor is it clear how many people were in the minivan.

Cammock said evidence found near the scene of Saturday afternoon’s shooting, including bullet casings, suggest the gunfire had no target.

Mount Vernon police stepped up their presence near the shooting locations over the weekend and into Monday morning. Dodd said officers remained to try to restore calm to the neighborhood.

Dodd said there are likely witnesses or others who could identify the shooters, and he hoped those individuals would come forward.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Mount Vernon police at 360-428-3211 or anonymously at 360-336-0632.

Reporter Evan Marczynski: 360-416-2149, [email protected] com, Twitter: @Evan_SVH, Facebook.com/EvanReports

Reporter Shannen Kuest contributed to this story.

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(c)2015 the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.)

Visit the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.) at www.goskagit.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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