Happening nearby: More details emerge in Edmonds Senior Center shooting

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Edmonds police engaged in a high-speed midnight car chase on Edmonds Way Dec. 14 that led to the arrest of two suspects in connection with Friday’s fatal shooting of a 23-year-old SeaTac man at the Edmonds Senior Center.

The alleged shooter, a 21-year-old SeaTac man, was arrested for second-degree murder and is being held in Snohomish County Jail on $1 million bail. Bail was set at $10,000 for the driver of the vehicle, a 21-year-old man from South Seattle who was arrested for eluding police.

According to a police report from the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office, the shooting happened in connection with a private party attended by an estimated 100 individuals at the senior center, located at 220 Railroad Ave. An Edmonds police officer was on the scene monitoring the party at the time; police had been dispatched twice earlier that night in response to noise complaints.

Just before midnight, that officer heard a series of gunshots coming from the west side of the senior center building, and “10-15 seconds later” witnessed three suspects (one female and two males) running around the northwest side of the building into the parking lot. The officer observed one suspect “attempting to stuff and conceal an item in the front waistband of his pants,” which “based on his training and experience…was likely a gun,” the police documents said.

The officer challenged the suspects, but they ignored him, entering a vehicle and attempting to leave the parking lot via the south entrance. The officer reported that he then yelled “Edmonds Police, stop!”  after which the driver “clearly looked at me and then sped away” along Railroad Ave toward Dayton Street.

The officer pursued the vehicle eastbound along Dayton Street and then southbound on Edmonds Way in his fully-marked Edmonds Police SUV interceptor with lights and siren. He reported that the vehicle was traveling in excess of 80 mph and was weaving in and out of traffic as it passed Pine Street heading east toward Westgate.

Traffic congestion caused the vehicle to stop in the 10100 block of Edmonds Way, after which several officers then conducted a “high-risk vehicle stop.”

According to Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Shane Hawley, such a stop entails police staying back about 20 feet and calling the occupants of the vehicle out at gun point. The officer then brings the suspects back one at a time, because it is much safer than rushing up to the car, Hawley said.

After obtaining verbal consent from the suspect, the officers searched the car but found no weapon. The three suspects were taken to the Edmonds police station for questioning, where all professed no involvement in the shooting.

Based on police reports, the two men were transferred and booked into the Snohomish County jail, where one is being held on probable cause of second-degree murder, the other for attempting to elude police. According to Hawley, the third suspect was released.

Officers found the gunshot victim in the grassy area to the west of senior center thrift shop with an apparent bullet wound to the chest. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful, and the victim died at the scene.

Officers interviewed at least three other potential witnesses who were present at the party. According to police documents, one of them identified himself as the brother of the deceased victim and said he witnessed the suspect shoot the victim in the chest.

The two suspects were scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

The Edmonds Senior Center was closed for the day Monday, but is expected to reopen Tuesday.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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