Bail for teen in killing at $500,000

EVERETT — A 19-year-old man is behind bars in connection with a gang-related shooting that killed another teenager more than a year ago.

Dennis Riojas, 19, was found shot to death Aug. 5, 2006, across from the south Everett apartment where he lived with his family. Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives believe Herbert Jacques Reynolds Jr. pulled the trigger.

Reynolds appeared Wednesday in Everett District Court. He is under investigation for second-degree murder.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Janice Albert told the judge that Reynolds should be considered a danger to the community. The teenager has racked up numerous felony and misdemeanor convictions in the past two years, the prosecutor said.

Judge Pro Tem Drue Kirby ordered Reynolds held on $500,000 bail.

Riojas’ mother, Stella Miranda, was in the courtroom.

Reynolds has been in jail since Sunday. He was arrested on a warrant for failing to report to the state Department of Corrections. He was under state supervision for a 2006 conviction for fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation.

Sheriff’s detectives questioned Reynolds about the homicide a couple of weeks after it happened. He denied being involved, court records show.

But witnesses told investigators that Reynolds and two other teens, all who claim to be in a gang, talked of fighting Riojas. One of those teens was charged with a drive-by shooting. Detectives believe that teen fired at Riojas and another man a few hours before the fatal shooting.

Witnesses said after that incident, Reynolds and Riojas talked over the phone and agreed to meet up to fight, court records show. Detectives found threatening phone messages on Riojas’ cell phone. One caller told Riojas he was going to be shot.

Witnesses told police that after Reynolds and Riojas talked on the phone, both men headed toward Riojas’ apartment. Reynolds jumped out of the car he was riding in and Riojas left the car he was in, witnesses said. People in both cars said they heard a gunshot, according to the affidavit. The affidavit doesn’t say if the people in the cars witnessed the shooting.

One witness told police that when Reynolds got back into the car, he said he “got him,” according to court documents.

The case remains under in­vestigation, sheriff’s spokeswoman Rebecca Hover said. Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting or has information is asked to call the sheriff’s tip line at 425-388-3845.

The homicide fed into a growing concern of increasing gang activity in the south Everett.

About two months after the incident, Sheriff Rick Bart assigned a deputy to patrol Mariner High School. He was concerned that the gang problems in the neighborhood would spill over onto campus.

The sheriff’s office says it has identified gang members and people who have ties in every city in the county.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or

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