A Benton City man who claims he started carrying a gun after his brother was shot was sentenced Wednesday to more than 10 years in prison for a gang shooting at a Kennewick park.
Waldemar Pimentel, 20, said in a letter to the court that he "would like to apologize to the community for my actions on June 14. I know what I did was a terrible mistake and I'm sorry."
Pimentel pleaded guilty Jan. 19 in Benton County Superior Court to first-degree assault. Prosecutors dismissed a deadly weapon enhancement against Pimentel as part of the plea agreement.
The 10-year, three-month sentence was at the top of the standard range for a crime in which a bullet barely missed a teenage boy.
Kennewick police and court documents say that Pimentel arrived at Monopoly Park in a van, jumped out and ran toward rival gang members, firing six shots from a .38-caliber gun. The gunfire missed the intended targets, but struck a nearby home, with one of the bullets passing through the computer screen where the victim sat.
The occupants of the South Elm Street home had no connection to the reported gang clash.
Pimentel surrendered June 15 while U.S. marshals and Benton County sheriff's deputies were watching his home. He led Kennewick police to the spot where he had buried the gun, documents said.
Eleven weeks earlier, Pimentel's younger brother was critically injured in a Kennewick gang-related shooting near Fourth Avenue and Vancouver Street.
Adrian Pimentel, then 18, was hit in the chest March 28. Detectives determined the incident started when three male gang members were chased down an alley by several other rival gang members in a Lincoln Town Car, who then got out of the car and started fighting the small group.
The shooting was reported by emergency room staff after Pimentel was taken to Kennewick General Hospital by friends. He was transferred to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland for treatment.
Waldemar Pimentel, in his letter before the court Wednesday, said he is not "a bad person" and never had a reason to carry a weapon until his brother was shot.
"Ever since then I have carried a weapon for fear of my life and others around me," Pimentel wrote. "I would like to apologize to the people whose house I hit and to their son who had nothing to do with the situation I was in."
Pimentel added that he had no intention of hurting the family.
"I'm terrible sorry for my actions," he said. "I thank God no one was hurt."