Gang member arrested in SWAT raid

WALLA WALLA POLICE NEWS RELEASE -- The Walla Walla Emergency Services Unit SWAT Team forced entry into the rental property located at 2XX W. Chestnut shortly after 6:00 a.m. Wednesday and arrested 19 year old Mario Diaz Jr. for numerous felony charges related to his involvement in a local gang.

The SWAT Team found numerous subjects in the home when they forced entry, including small children. Diaz attempted to flee to the back of the residence but was stopped by one of the officers before he could escape. There were no injuries to the SWAT Team or residents.

Diaz is one of the primary suspects in a gang attack on 2 men as they walked through the area of Chase and Chestnut Streets during the early morning hours of New Year's Day. The 2 men were attacked by approximately 15 gang members after they were questioned by them about gang affiliations. Neither of the victims have any ties to gangs.

Both victims reported that during the attacks the assailants were armed with at least 2 firearms. One victim stated that after he was knocked to the ground, a suspect later identified as Diaz, held a gun to his chest and ordered him not to move while he was being kicked to the head and torso. The second victim reported a different firearm being point at him during the assault.

Diaz was lodged in the Walla Walla County Jail on probable cause for Assault 2nd Degree, Felony Riot, and Possession of a Pistol by a minor.