Victim in Milton-Freewater restaurant robbery dies

By on Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

MILTON-FREEWATER – Detectives from the Milton-Freewater Police Department, in collaboration with the Blue Mountain Enforcement Narcotics Team (BENT), are investigating a robbery that occurred Sunday night at a restaurant. Chief Joe Shurtz confirmed Tuesday morning the victim in the case has passed away.

Shurtz said the case involving the robbery at the Red Tea Garden Chinese Restaurant, 14 N. Columbia St., remains active. MFPD detectives and the BENT team have spent hours conducting interviews and collecting evidence.

“Our current priority is to preserve the integrity of the ongoing investigation,” Shurtz said. “Therefore, we (MFPD) will refrain from disclosing any information that could compromise the potential for arrest or prosecution.”

Shurtz said he appreciates the understanding of the community during this critical phase of the investigation and that further updates will be provided as circumstances permit.

On Sunday, officers responded at 7:27 p.m. to reports of a robbery that had just occurred at the restaurant. After officers arrived, they found an injured employee who was transported to Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla.

Officers learned the suspect was in the bar of the restaurant and took the change drawer from the cash register and left. After being confronted outside, the suspect came back into the restaurant.

Shurtz has not released the identity of the victim but said MFPD sends its condolences to the family during this time of tragedy.

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