Teen’s part in south Everett drive-by shooting earns 2 years’ detention

EVERETT — A judge wanted to provide a Seattle teen an incentive to sever his ties with a violent gang.

The incentive turned out to be nearly two years in juvenile detention.

Ronald Gomez, 16, admitted he took part in the June 11 gang drive-by shooting that wounded an Everett teen. The gunfire in south Everett likely was in retaliation for a gang shooting outside a Seattle mall earlier in the year, police said.

Gomez last month pleaded guilty in the drive-by shooting.

“You certainly got involved with the wrong group of people,” Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss said Monday.

MS-13 gang members may have made an impression on Gomez but the judge intended to make his own impression, Weiss said.

He ordered Gomez to spend 20 months behind bars, the maximum sentence under state guidelines. Although Gomez was charged and convicted as an adult, he will be allowed to spend his sentence in juvenile detention.

“I hope as you spend your time incarcerated, you think seriously about the people you’ve become involved with,” Weiss said.

Gomez admitted he was in the back seat of a car in the ambush attack on a rival gang member, court records show. Another teen, Armando Lopez, 18, also admitted he was riding in the back seat at the time of the shooting.

The car allegedly was driven by a north Everett woman who is accused of luring the victim outside. Prosecutors say the woman sent the Everett boy, 16, a message to his MySpace account posing as “Lady Killer” and arranged a meeting to “kick it.”

The woman, Sarah Black, 30, is believed to be a recruiter for MS-13, a violent street gang, court documents said. Black allegedly told detectives that MS-13 members from California came to Everett and ordered her to hold a meeting to talk about problems with other gangs in the area, including a Seattle shooting.

About a dozen people met at Black’s home and planned the ambush, court records show. Accused of driving the car, Black is charged with first-degree assault.

Detectives believe the front-seat passenger pulled the trigger. Police haven’t found him.

Defense attorney Anthony Howard told the judge that Gomez doesn’t know the name of the shooter. The teen won’t be asked to testify against anyone connected to the case, Howard said.

Gomez is a bright, likeable young man, his attorney said. The teen understands his need to get away from the lifestyle that landed him behind bars, Howard said.

“I hope this case saves his life,” he said.

Gomez declined to say anything at Monday’s hearing in Snohomish County Superior Court.

The prosecutor recommended Gomez receive the low end of the standard sentencing range and spend a little more than a year in juvenile detention. The teen didn’t have any prior criminal convictions.

Weiss said it was clear the shooting was gang-related and someone was seriously injured. He said he wanted Gomez to think about the choices he had made to get wrapped up with a gang. The judge said it may be difficult to break ties but he expected if Gomez put his mind to it, the teen could live a productive, crime-free life.

“I wish you the best of luck in the future,” Weiss said.

Reporter Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463 or hefley@heraldnet.com.

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