Heavy sentences for gang-related drive-by shooting

YAKIMA, Wash. - Four gang members will likely spend the rest of their lives in prison for a drive-by shooting in Outlook in 2011.

Those sentences were handed down Monday afternoon in connection with shooting into a mobile home with seven people inside at the time. The sentences are longer than handed down to some convicted killers.

"There was sufficient evidence circumstantial evidence to support the jury's conclusion that each was either acting as a principal or an accomplice in the shooting," said Yakima County Superior Court Judge Richard Bartheld.

Armando Lopez looked to be in good spirits despite a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Jose Mancilla, Nicholas James and Jaime Lopez showed almost no emotion during sentencing.

They're all members of the Sureno gang who shot at a rival member's house armed with an assault rifle and several other firearms. Their convictions on assault and drive by add up to at least 55 years behind bars, but the real prison time comes from weapons enhancements. Those enhancements bring a five-year penalty for each weapon. Three weapons means 15 years for each of the seven people inside the home who were shot. It adds up to another 105 years in prison.

"I believe gang-related crime should be treated more harshly, but the reality is all these individuals are looking at life in prison," said Yakima Deputy Prosecutor Attorney Gary Hintze.

People we spoke with from Outlook agree.

"They need to be taught a lesson," said one Outlook resident. "Teach these gangsters don't go out and do that."

Although it's been a year since the drive-by shooting, neighbors are still afraid to talk with KIMA on camera for fear they would put themselves and their families in danger.

"Gang violence such as this doesn't just target the gang members, it targets their families," Hintze said. "It targets their neighbors and it targets people that happen to be wearing the wrong thing. I'm hoping this will send a message that maybe when your buddies call you up and want go out and cause some violence, maybe you should just stay home."

Each of the defendants now has 30 days to appeal.