MOSES LAKE - A man was sentenced to about 17 months behind bars in a January drive-by shooting in Moses Lake that stemmed from a fight at a nearby gas station.
Gabriel Ruiz Balderas, 19, entered an Alford plea to second-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment in connection to the Jan. 16 shooting. An Alford plea means Ruiz Balderas does not admit to committing the crime but believed he would be convicted at trial.
Ruiz Balderas was initially charged with two counts of first-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon and drive-by shooting but the charges were amended as part of a plea agreement. Ruiz Balderas received consecutive sentences of nine months on the second-degree assault conviction and 364 days, with 124 suspended, for reckless endangerment.
Ruiz Balderas and his brother entered the Circle K gas station on North Stratford Road on the afternoon of Jan. 16. Surveillance video shows the two brothers at the fountain drink station when two other men pull up in a silver minivan and enter the store. The two men walked directly up to the Balderas brothers and began punching the two brothers, along with a third uninvolved man, according to Moses Lake police.
Customers in the store watch as the group continues fighting, with several of the men slipping on the floor due to the spilled drinks, until the two men who instigated the fight run out the door and back into their van. The Balderas brothers continue back out to their Chevrolet Malibu where video shows the Malibu, with Ruiz Balderas in the passenger seat, following the van south on North Stratford Road out of the gas station parking lot.
Moses Lake police say at least seven shots were fired from a handgun out the front passenger-side window of the Malibu on West Knolls Vista Drive, about a block from the gas station.
Ruiz Balderas also pleaded guilty in a separate case to first-degree criminal trespassing for breaking into a home in November. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail to be served concurrently with his sentence for the shooting.