Suspect arrested in Yakima double-murder case
YAKIMA, Wash. -- An hours-long manhunt ends with an accused murderer behind bars. Yakima police say the suspect shot and killed two women outside a Yakima store as they arrived to work this morning.
"Some of our officers actually heard the gunshots," said Mike Bastinelli, Yakima Police Department Spokesperson.
Investigators say they heard the gunshots that likely killed Marta Martinez, and her co-worker Karina Morales-Rodriguez.
"This is as bad as it gets," said Bastinelli.
Police say the shooting happened just one block from their department at the Yakima Money Tree on 129 South 1st St. near East Walnut Street. By the time police arrived, both victims were already dead, and the suspect -- long gone.
"I go into that Money Tree a lot. They're nice people," said Brand Estes, who lives nearby.
Investigators believe Martinez and Morales-Rodriguez just got to work, when Manuel Verduzco confronted them, just before firing the deadly shots around 6 a.m. One victim found in the parking lot, the other in the street.
Police won't yet say if Verduzco then went into the Money Tree to steal anything.
Family members tell Action News Martinez had been working at the Money Tree for about two years, after graduating from Perry Technical Institute.
"I just watched a man run up and find out his wife has died," said Brent Journeay, who lives nearby. "And just broke down crying, him and his son."
The suspect's motive is unknown, leaving their families and the community with many unanswered questions.
"So close to Easter and now their family members' gone," said Bonnie, who works nearby.
Money Tree President Aggie Clarkreleased this statement to Action News on Saturday --
We are extremely shocked and saddened by the grave incident that took place at our Yakima branch early Saturday morning. All of Moneytree joins together to mourn the loss of our two Team Members who were brutally shot and killed. We appreciate the quick response from the Yakima police department and their diligent and ongoing efforts to apprehend those responsible. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our Team Members and their families during this horrible tragedy.
Photos of the victim were provided to Action News by family members.