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Suspect In Salina Park Shooting Arrested In Dodge City
07/27/2010
 

UPDATE

Dodge City Police arrested 28-year-old Jose Manuel Garay at 6:45 Monday evening, when he was pulled over in Dodge City. Garay is wanted in the shooting death of a teenager Sunday night at a Salina park.

July 25, 2010

A young father is dead after possible gang violence in Salina. 17 year-old Derek Rico was shot and killed as he attended a birthday party at Sunset Park. The story is shocking news to Rico's friends and family.

"The park was full of people and we have numerous witnesses," said Salina Deputy Police Chief Carson Mansfield.

It was an unusually cool evening and Sunset Park was crowded. Derek Rico had taken his girlfriend and infant son to the park for a birthday party cookout.

"There were people from all walks of life in the park," said Mansfield. "Some of them claim gang affiliation and some of the people involved with this claim gang affiliation."

At the park on Monday, people showed up to place flowers by a tree near where the shooting happened. Spray paint marks the spot of the tragedy. Rico's friends planned a vigil for the teenager in the evening.

"He was only 17. We're not even out in the world yet," said Janelle Dent. "We haven't graduated high school, so I think it's really big to show people that it isn't OK for this to happen."

"He had a son. He was somebody's son," said James Matheson, another friend. "He was so many people's friend. He had his whole life ahead of him."

Rico was gunned down near the playground of the park and police say they believe 28 year-old Jose Garay pulled the trigger. Garay was due in Saline County District court Monday on drug charges and also violation of a protection from stalking order. 18 year-old Juan Ramos was arrested for aiding a felon after turning himself in to police Sunday night.

Officers don't believe the park is a trouble spot or a hangout for gang activity.

"We will shift some of our patrols to take a look at the park," Deputy Chief Mansfield said. "Anytime you get a large number of people gathered together, we should be shifting a little bit of our patrolling. We'll be doing that, but no, I just think it occurred at the park."

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