Shooting suspects to stand trial

SEATTLE - The trial dates for two gang members suspected of shooting to death one Valley resident and wounding three others in Seattle last September are being set this week.

Emmanuel Grande-Martinez, 22, of El Salvador, and Elmer Cisneros-Alvarado, 25, of Renton, have been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of first-degree assault for two separate shootings - Sept. 23 and 24 - one of which involved the Valley residents.

Both men have so far pleaded not guilty to the charges. Cisneros-Alvarado's court date is May 7. Grande-Martinez, however, will have a competency hearing March 1 to determine if he can stand trial on the basis of his mental state, said Dan Donahoe of the King County Prosecutor's Office.

The Sept. 24 shooting occurred when Jorge Temblador-Topete, 22, Julio Castaneda-Ramos, 21, and a pair of 14- and 15-year-old sisters and their mother were on their way to a dance in Seattle. They were stopped at a light near Safeco Field when a car, that police believe was driven by Cisneros-Alvarado, pulled up from behind. Grande-Martinez then allegedly jumped from the car and fired several rounds from a Glock 9 mm semiautomatic handgun at the victims.

Temblador-Topete, from North Bend, was shot in the head and later died at Harborview Medical Center. Castaneda-Ramos suffered chest, arm and leg gunshot wounds; the 15-year-old girl received a minor wound to the hand, and her sister was shot in the head, but survived. The girls' mother was not injured.

The Sept. 23 incident involved John Diklich, who was found dead in the White Center area of Seattle. Police documents indicate that the September shootings, as well as others during the summer, could be related to the gang both men belong to, called Mara Salvatrucha. The gang started in El Salvador and is known for committing extremely violent crimes.

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