The move marks the 31st time that a juvenile has been automatically charged as an adult this year by King County prosecutors; in 2008, only 19 such cases were filed. Under state law, 16 or 17-year-olds accused of most violent felonies are automatically charged as adults.According to police statements, Seattle officers were called to the 1000 block of South Sullivan Street just after midnight on reports of a shooting. They found an 18-year-old man shot in the back. Witnesses told officers the shooters had fled in a white sport utility vehicle, according to court documents. Police stopped a similar vehicle in the area minutes later and arrested five occupants. One was later released and has not been charged. During interviews, police allege one of those arrested said the shooting stemmed from a dispute between two street gangs, Deputy Prosecutor Karissa Taylor said in court documents. "The defendants admit that the shooting was gang related between the Nortenos and the Surenos," said Taylor, referring to two California-based gangs. "The victim was shot because he was crossing out the Surenos gang signs."
Having argued with other youths about 20 minutes before, the young men in GMC Tahoe spotted the victim and his friends in the South Park alley. Police allege that Rudy M. Rapisura, 24, Jairo Gomez-Cervantes, 19, and David Bryan Santos, 18, rushed out of the car and opened fire on the other youths. Prosecutors assert that 16-year-old Armando Gomez-Pablo was the getaway driver. Announcing the filing of charges, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg noted the apparent increase in the number of juveniles being prosecuted for violent crimes. "I share the great concern of police and community leaders over this disturbing trend of teenagers turning to gun violence to settle petty grievances," Satterberg said in a statement. "We need to send a strong and consistent message to youth that gun violence is not an acceptable option."Satterberg has previously argued that weak penalties for youths before they turn 16 in gun cases fail to impress upon them the serious consequences of gun violence. He has said he plans to ask that the state-mandated sentencing standards be reviewed. If convicted as charged, the accused face one to two years in prison. They are each scheduled to be arraigned on drive-by shooting charges Aug. 25 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent