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Lone Massacre Survivor Tells of 'Dirty Looks'

October 15, 1987|Associated Press

PASCO, Wash. — The lone survivor of an auto body shop massacre that left five men dead rested under guard in a hospital Wednesday, while police searched for two gunmen who had traded "dirty looks" with their victims in the past.

Police speculated that drug dealing may have sparked the shootings, but stressed they had no firm motive. Drugs, especially cocaine, have long been a problem in this south-central Washington town of 19,000 residents, police Sgt. Andy Anderson said.

The survivor, Jesse Rocio, 20, of Pasco, was kept under guard at a hospital while being treated for a minor wound, then was transferred to jail pending a court hearing today on whether he will be held as a material witness, Anderson said.

Retribution Feared

Anderson said police are concerned about possible retribution by suspects.

Rocio said in a telephone interview from his hospital bed that he could think of no motive for the shootings Tuesday evening in Medina's Body Shop on Pasco's industrial east side, where four of the victims were employed.

He said he and the other victims, all Latinos, had exchanged "dirty looks" with the gunmen in the past, but would not elaborate.

No roadblocks were set up Wednesday, but a bulletin was issued to law-enforcement agencies throughout the region, and police said informants were helping in the search.

Rocio said the gunmen entered the shop, looked around, then returned with the weapons and started shooting.

Wounded by Ricochet

Rocio said he was wounded in the side by a ricocheting bullet when he dove under a car.

"When they started shooting I just jumped underneath the car and I stay still," Rocio said, adding that the gunmen left without checking to see if anyone was still alive.

Rocio then drove to the police station for help. He was listed in stable condition at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

Police Chief Don Francis said there were no signs of a struggle and the bodies were sprawled on the floor on the side of a car away from the doorway.

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