A Yakima County man is accused of holding a gun to a gas station cashier and using him as a shield when police arrived Thursday morning for reports of a kidnapping and robbery attempt in Orchards.
Samuel Garcia, 21, of Zillah, was scheduled to appear Friday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree robbery, third-degree assault, resisting arrest and two counts each of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault and felony harassment. A corrections deputy testified that Garcia was too sick to appear in court, and his hearing was set over to Monday. The judge ordered a no-bail hold in the meantime.
Early Thursday morning, police say Garcia approached a 42-year-old man who was parked outside of a convenience store in the Vancouver Heights neighborhood and asked him for a ride. The man agreed, and when Garcia got inside his car, Garcia pulled out a screwdriver and threatened him with it. Garcia demanded the man drive him around the city and also threatened him with a gun, according to a probable cause affidavit.
After four hours of driving, the man told Garcia he needed to stop for gas, court records state. They stopped at a Chevron at 12100 N.E. Fourth Plain Blvd., and Garcia followed the man toward the cashier. At one point, Garcia put his arm around the man and held a gun, which was concealed in a backpack, to his back, according to the affidavit. The cashier told police he could tell the man was afraid.
When the man and Garcia walked back toward the pumps, he pushed Garcia to try to get away; the two fell to the ground fighting, court records state.
The man was able to break away and ran inside the store, according to the affidavit. He yelled to the cashier to call 911 and locked himself inside the restroom. Police say he armed himself with a plunger in case Garcia was able to get inside.
Garcia then came inside the store, held the gun inside the backpack toward the cashier and told him he needed a ride, according to court records.
When police arrived, Garcia ducked behind the cashier, the affidavit states, and used him as a shield while holding the concealed gun to his back.
Garcia refused to comply with orders to release the cashier, according to police, and “force was used to separate them.” The affidavit states he continued to struggle while officers were arresting him.
Garcia was taken to an area hospital to be treated for minor injuries and observed because of suspected drug use, according to the police department.