YAKIMA, Wash. - A teenager accused of shooting a Yakima County Sheriff's deputy in Outlook last year is back on the streets after a judge reduced his bail from $2 million to $50,000.
Jacob Almaguer, 17, posted bail on Saturday, a day after Yakima County Superior Court Judge Ruth Reukauf lowered his bail.
He is facing two counts of attempted murder in a shooting last year that wounded Deputy Bobby Miranda in the right leg and missed Deputy Chris Stearley.
Authorities characterized the shooting as a way for Almaguer, who was 16 at the time, to prove himself to fellow gang members.
The two deputies were outside their patrol cars collecting shell casings near the intersection of Yakima Valley Highway and North Outlook Road when they came under fire in the July 20, 2009, shooting.
Yakima County Sheriff Ken Irwin described the attack as deliberate, saying it would have been obvious to the shooter that he was targeting law enforcement officers.
In a police report read in court, witnesses told investigators they saw Almaguer with a rifle and heard him say he was going to "earn some stripes by flaming the two pigs."
Yakima County Prosecutor Jim Hagarty on Monday wouldn't say what changes in the case compelled Reukoff to lower the bail, citing the ongoing case. However, he said he opposed the bail reduction and is frustrated by it.
"It's a serious case," he said. "That was too much of a drop."
Hagarty said his office is still moving forward on the case.
"We believe we have a strong case," he said. "We just need to do a little more investigating."
Fielding a call for Judge Reukoff, Yakima County Superior Court consultant Harold Delia said Reukoff couldn't comment on the open case.
Calls to defense attorney Mickey Krom were not immediately returned Monday afternoon.
Irwin said Hagarty alerted his department last week of the possibility of a bail reduction in the case.
"We were somewhat prepared for it although the amount seems awfully low given the alleged act," he said.
Deputies aren't happy about Almaguer being back on the streets, he said.
"We were upset, but we'll work through it ó see how the investigation goes."