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March 3, 2024

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Bail $5 million for Battle Ground man in 2015 drive-by shooting case

Suspect accused of attempted first-degree murder, more

By , Columbian staff reporter
Published:

A judge set bail at $5 million for a Battle Ground man who was in court Monday on a 2015 warrant in connection with a drive-by shooting.

Juventino Valencia Mendoza, 53, appeared in Clark County Superior Court on three counts of attempted first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and a domestic violence court order violation.

Judge Suzan Clark said she set the high bail amount largely because of the nearly nine years Valencia Mendoza had been at large. He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 26.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jeff McCarty said Valencia Mendoza has prior assault and domestic violence convictions, and he’d previously been deported but returned to the United States.

Vancouver police officers responded March 9, 2015, to reports of a drive-by shooting near Northeast Andresen Road and East 18th Street.

The victim, identified in court records as Jamie Romero Meraz, said he was driving his Ford F-150 when Valencia Mendoza shot at him from a Ford Focus. Romero Meraz’s girlfriend and her 16-year-old daughter were also in the truck at the time of the shooting, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Romero Meraz told officers Valencia Mendoza was upset with him because he’d been helping the man’s girlfriend end her relationship with him, which Romero Meraz said was abusive. During the shooting, Romero Meraz rammed his pickup into Valencia Mendoza’s Ford, he said, and pushed it into a telephone pole. Valencia Mendoza then ran from the crashed car, court records state.

When police arrived, they found Valencia Mendoza’s girlfriend in the crashed car, along with an acquaintance. Detectives learned there was an active domestic violence no-contact order prohibiting Valencia Mendoza from having contact with the woman and possessing firearms, according to court records.

She suffered a broken leg and broken bones in her foot in the crash, and the other passenger suffered a cut on his arm that required stitches, court records state.

The woman told officers Valencia Mendoza was driving when she saw him pull out a gun. He then reached across her body, she said, and fired out the open window at Romero Meraz’s pickup. Police said Romero Meraz’s truck was struck by three bullets, according to the affidavit.

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