<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Tuesday, September 26, 2023
Sept. 26, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

Suspect in fatal shooting outside Vancouver Safeway held without bail, had 13 prior warrants

By , Columbian staff reporter

A judge ordered a Vancouver man be held without bail Thursday in connection with a fatal shooting Saturday outside a Safeway on Mill Plain Boulevard.

Nicholas Martinell-Sterling, 28, appeared in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of first-degree murder, first-degree assault and drive-by shooting. He is accused of killing 28-year-old Henry Gonzalez Carmona of Vancouver.

Judge Suzan Clark also found probable cause for an allegation of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Martinell-Sterling is scheduled to be arraigned March 30.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeff McCarty said he will likely file multiple counts of assault on behalf of the other victims. Vancouver police previously said three other people suffered gunshot wounds.

McCarty requested Martinell-Sterling be held without bail based on the two, public shooting scenes — outside the Safeway in the Vancouver Heights neighborhood and near PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

He said Martinell-Sterling has juvenile and adult criminal history, as well as 13 prior warrants. Martinell-Sterling was convicted in 2016 of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, McCarty said.

Saturday shooting

A bystander called 911 at 11:35 p.m. Saturday to report a shooting in the Safeway parking lot, 6701 E. Mill Plain Blvd. The caller reported someone had been shot and left the area in a car. The suspects had also left the area in a vehicle, according to a probable cause affidavit.

About five minutes later, Vancouver police received reports of gunshots heard near PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. Gonzalez Carmona had also reportedly been dropped off at the hospital, court records state.

He was later pronounced dead at the hospital. The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office said he died from a perforating gunshot wound to his torso. His death was ruled a homicide, meaning it resulted from another person’s deliberate action. The ruling does not make any judgments about criminal culpability.

Investigators learned Gonzalez Carmona was shot in the parking lot of the Safeway, after he’d gone inside the store with his girlfriend, Angelica Corrales. Two of their friends, Aniva Garcia and Michael Roban, stayed in the car, the affidavit states.

On surveillance footage, the couple could be seen entering the store and walking past Martinell-Sterling and another man. Investigators said Corrales told them the two men asked Gonzalez Carmona where he was from. Detectives said that’s slang for asking about gang affiliation, according to court records.

Gonzalez Carmona could then be seen using his phone and glancing at the two men. Martinell-Sterling and his friend left the store. Gonzalez Carmona and Corrales later exited, and he was shot shortly after, according to the affidavit. The shooting was not captured on surveillance footage.

Investigators said Roban told them the passenger in the suspect vehicle was the shooter. He was later identified using the store’s video as Martinell-Sterling. Officers said they were familiar with Martinell-Sterling from drug investigations, court records state.

Garcia drove Gonzalez Carmona and the others to the hospital. Shortly before they arrived, their car was shot at, presumably by the same suspects, investigators said.

Garcia suffered a gunshot wound and underwent surgery, before being admitted to the intensive care unit. Corrales and Roban suffered what appeared to be grazing gunshot wounds, the affidavit states.

Investigators found a dozen 9 mm shell casings in the Safeway parking lot. They found four spent casings — three 9 mm rounds and one .223 caliber round — on the corner of Northeast Fifth Street and 87th Avenue near the hospital, according to court records.

Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said Thursday that detectives are looking at other possible suspects in the shooting.