EPHRATA — A Royal City man who is accused of shooting and killing his father early Wednesday morning had his bail set at $1 million last week.
Grant County prosecutors charged Jonathan Torres, 21, of Royal City, in Grant County Superior Court with first-degree murder (premeditated), second-degree murder (intentional), first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm (serious prior felony), attempted first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm (serious prior felony), resisting arrest and attempted disarming of a law enforcement officer.
Following a recommendation from Grant County Prosecutor Garth Dano, Judge David Estudillo set Torres' bail at $1 million. Dano said the state believes Torres is not only a threat to his own family if he were to be released, as both his mother and sister talked to investigators, but to the community at large as well.
Torres' mother told investigators she and her husband, Jesus Torres Flores, 58, drove Jonathan to a hospital in Othello Tuesday evening due to him feeling sick and “like he was going to die.” They arrived at the hospital in Othello at approximately 10 p.m. and departed about an hour and a half later.
The mother said after they left the hospital she started to drive back to Royal City and Jonathan was seated in the back of the vehicle directly behind her, with her husband in the front passenger seat. As they were driving home near Mardon, Jesus Torres Flores was reportedly “talking about Christ” when a gunshot was fired.
“After hearing the gunshot, (the mother) saw that Jesus Torres Flores had been shot in the head and he appeared dead. According to (the woman), the windows of the vehicle were closed at the time the shot was fired and she was certain that the shot came from inside the vehicle. (She) was sure that Jonathan Torres was the one to fire the gunshot because he was the only other person in the vehicle,” wrote a detective.
The mother denied having any discussion with her son about the incident or why it occurred, but she did say she slowed the vehicle when the she heard the gunshot to she could check on her husband. She said she wasn't previously afraid of her son, but she is now after the incident.
The mother drove to their home in Royal City on Juniper Circle and Jonathan's sister phoned 911. Deputies located him in a parking lot on Camelia Street in Royal City, which is about 800 feet southwest from his Juniper Circle home, and they reportedly had to use a Taser on him after he grabbed hold of a deputy's rifle that was slung around his body.
“The way (the deputy) described the event, Jonathan Torres was attempting to gain control of the rifle to use (it) in an offensive manner.”
Torres refused to speak with investigators about the incident.
Investigators did not find broken glass or other damage to the vehicle the shooting occurred in that would indicate a bullet entered the vehicle from the outside, or exited the vehicle from the inside.
“During a search of the vehicle, no bullets or bullet fragments were located. Based on these circumstances, it appeared to me to be constant with the victim being struck by a bullet that was fired from inside this vehicle.”
During Tuesday's court hearing Dano noted that Torres, along with his brother Jesus, have been implicated in two separate injury shootings in November, a single injury shooting in Royal City and a double injury shooting in Moses Lake.
Torres is scheduled to be in court again on Dec. 10.
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.