Thurston County Shooting Suspect Was Arrested in East Lewis County


A Centralia man charged in a Grand Mound shooting death was captured by Washington State Patrol in East Lewis County hours after the shooting, according to court documents.

Adan Sanchez, 37, has been charged with second-degree murder. He’s being held in the Thurston County Jail on $750,000 bail.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday in Thurston Superior Court, Sanchez had been out drinking at a restaurant in Centralia the evening of March 7 with Pedro Beltran Palomares, 27 — who would later be killed by multiple gunshot wounds — and Romulo Yanez, 38 — who was later accused of altering the crime scene.

After drinking, they returned to a residence just north of the Lewis and Thurston County line in the 20000 block of Shamon Court Southwest. Video surveillance from the restaurant showed the three men left the restaurant at about 10:28 p.m., all in a vehicle driven by Sanchez. A witness later told detectives the same vehicle was parked at the scene of the homicide at about 11:30 p.m.

The same witness told detectives they saw Yanez on the phone with someone, pacing back and forth on the porch and appearing agitated.

Another witnesses, court documents read, had called Yanez at around 11:25 p.m. using the Facetime application, allowing the witness to see Yanez and the interior of the house. The witness told detectives they could see Beltran in the background arguing with someone. Beltran appeared like he was possibly about to be involved in a physical altercation.

Yanez, in an interview with detectives on Monday, said Beltran and Sanchez seemed fine when they went out for drinks. But when they returned to the house, they got into a verbal dispute. Court documents don’t indicate what the dispute was about.

When Yanez went to the part of the house they were arguing, he saw there was allegedly a handgun sitting on the table.

Beltran told Sanchez that the two should “go outside and settle it,” according to court documents. Instead, Sanchez allegedly picked up the gun from the table and shot Beltran twice.

“Mr. Yanez could not explain how the gun ended up on the table but admitted to hiding that gun, and others, while panicking after the murder. He did not provide this information initially because he feared for his family’s safety,” court documents read.

When deputies arrived at the house, there was a 16-year-old male and an 11-year-old female also in the house. The 16-year-old male is the one that called 911 after Yanez told him to, saying Beltran was dying.

Neither of the children saw the shooting, documents read.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they began administering aid to Beltran, who appeared to be suffering from wounds to the arm and torso. Medics arrived and declared him deceased.

Detectives say that Yanez was not forthcoming about the shooting initially. A search warrant for the property uncovered three handguns inside a doghouse. One of them matched the caliber of two shell casings found at the scene.

Yanez was arrested and charged with first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Court documents go on to say Sanchez was stopped by a Washington State Patrol trooper while driving down U.S. Highway 12 in East Lewis County. He was stopped for a traffic violation. It was around 3:30 a.m. March 8 — a little more than three hours after the shooting.

“Mr. Sanchez was driving a different vehicle than the vehicle he was driving when he and the other men went to the restaurant in Centralia,” documents read.

During a preliminary hearing in Thurston County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon, it was mentioned Sanchez was booked then on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, after Sanchez’s arrest, indicated they had a “person of strong interest” in the shooting, but also said that person had been arrested on a separate criminal matter, so he didn’t currently represent a threat to community safety.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Court Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax imposed $750,000 bail — less than the $1 million proposed by prosecutor Cailen Wevodau. Wevodau argued the amount was justified due to the seriousness of the allegations, and the fact that Sanchez appeared to be fleeing from the scene afterward.

Attorney Larry Jefferson, meanwhile, argued that Sanchez doesn’t have a history of violent offenses.

Kortokrax set an arraignment hearing for March 26.