YAKIMA — Two men suspected in the deaths of five people on the Yakama Indian Reservation in central Washington held a child at gunpoint and stole a vehicle while fleeing the scene, according to charges filed Monday.
A complaint filed Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Washington charges James Dean Cloud and Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud with assault with a deadly weapon in Indian country.
Charges say they were identified by two other witnesses as having “shot and killed several people” at an address in the 5100 Block of Medicine Valley Road in White Swan, Yakima County, on the reservation Saturday afternoon.
According to the complaint, James Cloud, 35, and Donovan Cloud and two other people — who are named in the complaint but have not been charged — stole a vehicle from the White Swan address after the killings. It broke down 10 miles from the scene. James Cloud and Donovan Cloud left the area, and law-enforcement officials arrested the two other suspects a short time later.
About 45 minutes later, authorities received a call from a homeowner near where the vehicle had broken down who reported that two men had approached the residence with guns, took a child hostage — holding a gun to the juvenile’s head — and demanded keys for a vehicle. The owner gave them keys, and the complaint states the “child was able to escape the two males.” The juvenile identified Donovan Cloud from a photo montage as the person who held a gun to the juvenile’s head. The child was not able to identify James Cloud in the montage, according to the complaint.
Holding the child at gunpoint and stealing the vehicle is the incident that led to the assault charge, according to the complaint.
The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office reported James Cloud was arrested about 2:50 a.m. Monday after a vehicle rolled over in a ditch near Wapato.
According to a news release, Cloud fled when deputies arrived but was captured after a K-9 was brought into the area to track him. James Cloud appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Spokane on Monday afternoon. Police have a total of four people in custody.
Details of the homicides on the reservation remain sketchy, although officials have confirmed that five people were killed. Four bodies were found in the 5100 block of Medicine Valley Road and a fifth victim was found dead in a vehicle near the 3400 block of Evans Road. Two people, both injured, were found with the fifth body, and appear from details to be the two people who identified James Cloud and Donovan Cloud.
The complaint says that James Cloud and Donovan Cloud are enrolled members of the Confederate Bands and Tribes of the Yakama Nation.
White Swan, where the deadly shooting took place, has been a focal point of reservation efforts to reduce crime.
Last year, after the Yakama Nation Tribal Council passed a resolution declaring a public-safety crisis, specifically citing “rampant crime” in White Swan.
The February 2018 resolution declared that those engaged in “unlawful activities” could be subject to punishments that include jail time, fines and banishment from the Yakama Nation.
“We have crime and malicious activity, assault and abuse of community members happening,” said Esther Moses Hyipeer, a White Swan resident and tribal councilor, in a statement released in February about the resolution. “We need to come together to make a positive difference.”
The 2018 resolution also placed an 8 p.m. curfew for youth in White Swan and reopened a tribal police substation in the community.