After a six-month investigation spent combing through online evidence, Bellevue police have arrested four people suspected of murder in Goldsmith Park.
Police also believe the suspects were affiliated with a gang after finding images of the four men on social media, dressed in blue and making hand gestures. In one image a tattoo is shown with the words “Crossroads Locos” written across a man’s forearms.
“After interviewing the suspects and admissions that they made self identifying themselves as gang members … talking to witnesses and gathering and evaluating physical evidence — I’m quite confident when I say this was a gang-related murder,” Bellevue police chief Steve Mylett said.
Mylett added that he could not emphatically speak to the motive for the crime. It marked the first murder in the city in more than three years.
“But I can say this — the victim and the suspects knew each other,” Mylett said. “That’s pretty clear.”
Six months ago police found 18-year-old Josue Flores in Goldsmith Park near a picnic table after he had been shot several times. Police responded to the park after multiple nearby neighbors reported the sounds of gunshots after midnight on April 3.
“This was a complicated case,” Mylett said. “Initially we didn’t have any witnesses that were willing to cooperate. So our officers really started this investigation from scratch.”
As officers were investigating the crime scene, the victim’s brother walked up and identified the victim, Mylett said. And numerous items of evidence were collected including a handgun police suspected was present and fired at the park.
Investigators went through thousands of pieces of evidence. Several search warrants were executed on social media sites. Often when the lead detectives on the case would come to work, that was their primary mission. What they found was a photograph of the four suspects in the park during the evening of the murder, before the homicide.
“Our job is not done when we place handcuffs on people and book them into jail,” Mylett said. “Our job is done when we have a successful prosecution. And so for the last six months, that was what the detectives in this case were focusing their efforts on — building a rock solid case to arrive at successful prosecution.”
In a collaboration of the Bellevue Police Department’s patrol, and investigations divisions, SWAT team, Special Operations Group and the Everett Police Department, “Operation Goldsmith” was launched mid morning on Sept. 30.
It led to the arrests of Jesus Ura Stay Gee, 24, Cesar Pareja-Ortega, 21, Carlos Carillo-Lopez, 19, and a 15-year-old juvenile male who was taken into custody following his release from King County youth detention. The suspects all face murder charges. Hours before the homicide, police said two of the suspects were involved in a shooting in Everett. Three of the four suspects are Bellevue residents.
Police believe the individuals in custody are the primary leaders of the gang they’re affiliated with, considering there aren’t many other members locally that police have been able to identify.
“Bellevue is a safer place and the public a safer environment having these violent individuals behind bars,” Mylett said.