Text messages led prosecutors Wednesday to charge two more young men in the fatal Tacoma shooting of 18-year-old Elijah Crawford.
Trino Valentino Martinez, 21, and 17-year-old Juan Javier Zuniga-Gonzalez pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Pierce County Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set bail for each at $1 million.
They join Alberto Colt-Sarmiento, 23, who pleaded not guilty to the same charges last year and awaits trial. He initially faced only the first-degree murder charge, but prosecutors later added the attempted murder counts.
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According to charging papers:
Colt-Sarmiento and a friend of Crawford planned to meet Nov. 2 in the 1800 block of East 44th Street for a fistfight, and both intended to bring friends.
When Crawford arrived with the friend who planned to fight and a companion, they saw Colt-Sarmiento. Then someone ran at them and started shooting. Crawford died and one of his friends was wounded.
A search of Colt-Sarmiento’s phone revealed text messages between him and Martinez and Zuniga-Gonzalez, which led to the arrest of the younger men Tuesday.
One text indicated Zuniga-Gonzalez, who is charged as an adult, had left a backpack in Colt-Sarmiento’s vehicle. Zuniga-Gonzalez said he wasn’t there during the shooting, but told detectives he knew the make and model of the gun used. Court records allege he was the one who fired it.
Messages between Colt-Sarmiento and Martinez, who lives in Spanaway, included: “KILLKILLKILL,” and: “they started (obscenity) we end it.”
After his arrest, Martinez told detectives he had been in the passenger seat of Colt-Sarmiento’s vehicle during the shooting.