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News / Clark County News

Bail set at $1 million for suspect in fatal drive-by shooting of Vancouver man

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: February 2, 2024, 5:20pm
2 Photos
Abel Rodriguez, 35, appears Friday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree murder, drive-by shooting and first-degree assault. He&rsquo;s accused of shooting at two men walking on the sidewalk in central Vancouver, killing one of them.
Abel Rodriguez, 35, appears Friday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree murder, drive-by shooting and first-degree assault. He’s accused of shooting at two men walking on the sidewalk in central Vancouver, killing one of them. (Becca Robbins/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

A judge set bail Friday at $1 million for a man accused in a Jan. 6 drive-by shooting that killed a Vancouver man.

Abel R. Rodriguez, 35, appeared in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree murder, first-degree assault and drive-by shooting. He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 14.

Deputy Prosecutor Chris Glinski said Rodriguez was under Department of Corrections supervision at the time of the shooting, and he has a pending assault case. The prosecutor also recited Rodriguez’s lengthy criminal history.

Vancouver police responded about 3:20 a.m. to East 18th and Bryant streets for reports of a shooting. They arrived to find 22-year-old Sinem James with a gunshot wound to his chest. Despite lifesaving efforts by officers, James was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Another man was with James, and he told officers gunfire came from a silver vehicle, which drove away west on 18th Street. He said he didn’t know who was inside the vehicle, court records state.

Officers located a 9 mm shell casing in a residence north of the shooting scene and two casings in the road, the affidavit states.

On Jan. 10, a tipster contacted police and identified Rodriguez as the shooter. The tipster said Rodriguez told them he shot at two people and that he killed someone. Rodriguez reportedly told the tipster someone else was driving, and he shot at the men from the passenger seat, according to the affidavit.

The tipster said Rodriguez’s motive for the shooting was because several men had been following him, damaging his vehicle and threatening him. Rodriguez told the tipster someone had since cleaned his car, and he wasn’t driving it because police would be looking for it, according to the affidavit.

The tipster also later identified the driver during the shooting, and officers contacted him at a prison in Shelton, where he was serving a sentence for unrelated crimes, court records state.

When officers interviewed the driver, the man told police he and Rodriguez were driving around and drinking that night. He said as they went down 18th Street, Rodriguez pulled a gun out of the glove box, rolled down the window and shot at two men walking on the sidewalk. He said he didn’t know why Rodriguez shot at them and didn’t know there was a gun in the car, according to the affidavit.

On Thursday, Sunnyside police found Rodriguez and arrested him, with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, on an outstanding DOC warrant, court records state.

Officers did not find a gun on Rodriguez on Thursday or at the place he was staying. Rodriguez declined to be interviewed by police, the affidavit states.

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