Grant County, Wash. – Law enforcement across Eastern Washington continue to be swamped with gang related crimes. Tensions are erupting into violence, and the families impacted are desperate for justice.
In May, 16-year-old Gavin Hayes was gunned down as he walked through a Moses Lake neighborhood with another teen. That other teen was also shot but survived. Security cameras captured Gavin’s final steps as an apparent armed rival gang member came after him.
Officers later arrested Daniel Serrano Sosa, 24, who is currently charged with the first degree murder of Hayes. Hayes’ family hopes the legal consequences for the homicide will be severe enough to deter further gang violence.
His father, Patrick Hayes, acknowledges his son did have struggles.
“He was in and out of trouble,” he said. “He was a troubled child.”
And that, he says, had him turning to the wrong crowd and even a gang. At just 16, Gavin was already in and out of legal trouble. His many loved ones say they hoped and prayed time and maturity would straighten him out. In late May of 2021, they were robbed of every seeing that happen.
“He was just a baby,” his dad said. “It breaks me. It’s senseless.”
His son's final moments, final steps, were all captured on security cameras.
“He was going to a friend's house, going to see a girl or something,” Patrick said.
But the route took him by a house with a supposed armed rival gang member. The footage shows the teens walking by and then being pursued by the armed suspect. Reports indicate approximately 10 shots were fired.
As soon as Patrick heard the devastating news, he rushed to the Moses Lake scene covered in police and crime scene tape.
“Once I got there, I paid no attention to anything, I couldn't see my son laying in the street like that,” he said.
The bullets that didn’t hit flew through the busy neighborhood.
“The church (right there) was riddled with bullets, there was a dance studio next to it too,” he said.
Police say witnesses reported seeing the trucks captured in video race off shortly after the shots. They ultimately lead them to Daniel Serrano Sosa. The family says they were initially very pleased with the group who vowed to be there for them through legal proceedings.
“(Prosecutors) said we were going to be part of the team, and basically, they were going to let us have a voice,” Patrick said.
They were upset to hear word of a deal offered to Sosa for the murder for a guilty plea. Prosecutors, who couldn’t give specifics on the deal, stress the offer was standard procedure. They add that they are still in the very early stages of this case.
Gavin’s family says they just want their day in court. They want their tragic loss to serve as a wake-up call to the region about the increasing danger of gang violence in our communities.
"It’s out of control,” he said.
Gavin’s family says they are eager for another court hearing for the case on Wednesday. They say if you take away anything from this story, please talk to your kids and warn them about the life shattering dangers of falling in with the wrong people.