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Feb. 24, 2024

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Portland man, 19, pleads guilty to firing gun at party in Vancouver

He’s sentenced to 5 years in juvenile rehabilitation center

By , Columbian staff reporter

A 19-year-old Portland man was sentenced to five years in a juvenile rehabilitation center for firing gunshots during a fight at a February 2021 birthday party in Vancouver.

Jose Cano Silva pleaded guilty Friday in Clark County Superior Court to first-degree attempted assault. He was originally charged with first-degree assault and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The agreed-upon sentencing recommendation was below the standard sentencing range.

Cano Silva appeared virtually from juvenile detention and was 17 at the time of the shooting.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Smith said that the exceptionally low sentence was, in part, because of Cano Silva’s youth, lack of criminal history and lack of contact with the victim.

Defense attorney Therese Lavallee called Cano Silva a “model detainee” and said that he’s well liked at the detention center. She said he’d fallen into a bad crowd of friends at his high school, and he’s matured since he’s been in custody.

“This has essentially scared the heck out of him,” Lavallee said.

Cano Silva asked Judge Suzan Clark for a second chance. He said he wants to change, and after he’s served his sentence, he plans to stay away from the streets and help his father’s business.

When Clark ordered the 60-month sentence, she said she’d take a chance on Cano Silva because she doesn’t think she’ll see him back in court.

“Mr. Cano Silva, I cannot even tell you how lucky you are, firing a gun in an apartment, that no one was injured or killed,” Clark said.

Vancouver police were dispatched shortly before 11:30 p.m. Feb. 20, 2021, for a reported disturbance with a weapon at The Park at Mill Plain, an apartment complex at 206 N.E. 126th Ave.

The 911 caller said there were about 10 people gathered outside an apartment, and someone was yelling about a gun. Someone yelled, “I am going to get the gun from my car, you (expletive)!” according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The dispatcher then heard what sounded like a gunshot, and immediately after, several people called 911 to report hearing gunfire, the affidavit says.

When police arrived, people outside near the C building were yelling that a male was shooting a gun inside one of the units. People then began exiting the apartment.

Police cleared the residence and found two spent shell casings on the floor in the living room, as well as two holes in the floor, court records say. Smith, the prosecutor, said Friday the two bullets went into the apartment unit below.

After interviewing witnesses, police learned there had been a large birthday party going on, with several young children present. At some point, a physical fight broke out between Cano Silva and the victim, identified as then-25-year-old Jallah Lomax. Cano Silva threatened to retrieve a gun from his car to kill Lomax and then left the apartment, the affidavit states.

Cano Silva then returned to the apartment with a pistol. First, he fired one shot into the ground outside, and then pointed the weapon at Lomax. Lomax grabbed Cano Silva. They struggled over the gun, during which two more shots were fired, according to the court document.

Lomax successfully wrestled the gun away from Cano Silva and handed it to a friend, court records say.

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Police seized the gun, described as a black 9 mm pistol; it still had rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, police said.

Cano Silva refused to talk with police. Before he was arrested, officers found a 9 mm round in his pocket that appeared to match the ammunition in the handgun, the court document states.