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Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Summary of witness statements

Excerpted from
Gig Harbor Police Supplemental Report
Incident No. GH030460.2

Synopsis: Interview of multiple witnesses.
Detective Kelly B. Busey

Date 5/6/03
Gig Harbor WA


On 4/26/03 at approximately 1600,1 was advised of a double shooting that had occurred in the city limits of Gig Harbor within the previous hour. I was assigned to interview all potential witnesses to this event. Following is a summary of these interviews:

[RL] is employed as a senior paramedic with King County Medic One. He and his wife were driving into the parking lot of the Rite Aid/Sunset Grill shopping complex when he noticed several people running in various directions. His attention was drawn to a specific vehicle within the lot. The driver's side door was open and several people were standing near it. He parked next to the vehicle and got out. He observed a woman down on the pavement. She was prone and her head was partially under the adjacent car. He recognized that she had been shot in the head and he rendered basic airway maintenance first aid. He noticed a male in the car who was also injured and began basic airway management on him. When on-duty paramedics arrived, he briefly consulted with them and backed away from the scene. As he was departing the vehicle, he noted something stuck to the sole of his shoe. It appeared to be divorce paperwork bearing a female name.

[LC] is the wife of [RL]. She was in the car with him as they entered the parking lot. She did not immediately recognize people running within the lot, but as they parked next to the victim vehicle, she observed two children visibly upset standing approximately 15-20 feet in front of the vehicle. She immediately went to comfort them and determine the problem. She turned around and saw the woman laying in a pool of blood on the parking lot surface immediately outside the driver's side door. She also observed a male laying back in the car. She heard someone mention that there had been a shooting. As [LC] attended to the girl, the girl told her "My daddy is a policeman and he's is very mean to mommy. I think my daddy has killed her. Please help my mommy. They're in a divorce." [LC] assisted in removing the children from the scene and notified police of their location.

[SS] and his wife [B] were exiting the Rite Aid store and walking east through the parking lot toward their car. They both heard a car alarm that was coming from the area where they had parked. As they got closer, Steve heard what he recognized as two gunshots. Simultaneously, he observed two children (boy and girl) exit a maroon car parked next to his and run across the parking lot toward a black car (the victim vehicle). The car alarm was evidently sounding from the maroon car in which the children had been. As he looked in the direction of the gunshots, he saw somebody slump over in the black car from the driver's seat toward the passenger side. [SS] and his wife followed the children around the back of the black car and now observed the girl standing over a woman on the ground. Steve thought that the woman had been shot. His wife assisted in removing the children from the immediate area of the woman. [SS] called 911 from his cell phone and stayed on the line until law enforcement arrived. During the phone call, he observed a man remove a handgun from the vicinity of the victim vehicle and place it on the ground a safe distance away. [SS] stood near the gun until law enforcement arrived.

[BS] described the same basic version of the events that [SS] had told me. She noted that as the children were running from the maroon car toward the black car, She heard the girl say "My dad's hurt my mom. Help her. Help her. My dad's mean to my mom." When she arrived at the black car, she observed both the female on the ground and the male in the car. She assumed that the male had shot himself, based partly upon what the girl had said. She moved the children a short distance away and stood by while paramedics treated the injured parties.

[KM] and her husband were in the process of putting their children into their van which was parked a short distance away from the black car. She heard two loud "bangs" and thought at first this was a vehicle accident. She estimates the shots were separated by two seconds. She looked in the direction of the noises and noticed the two children running toward the black car. [KM] could see from her position that the driver's door to the black car was open and a woman was laying on the pavement beside it. [KM] began to go toward the car and by now, someone was attending to the injured woman. She then saw a male in the car and saw that his face.was covered with blood. [KM] then was drawn to the crying children and began to attend to them. She assisted in moving the children to the Hollywood Video store nearby. After obtaining identifying information from the children, she passed their names to a police officer at the scene.

Alex Monro is the husband of [KM]. He told me the same sequence of events, except that he stayed with his own children at their van during the response to the incident. He did hear the two "bangs," but estimates that they were separated by one second. [AM] also saw a man carry a handgun away from the car and place it in another location of the parking lot.

[MM] was sitting in the Sunset Grill Restaurant in a position where he could see out the west windows into the parking lot. He did not hear any noises, but observed several people running in the parking lot toward the area where he had parked his van. He immediately went into the parking lot and saw that the people were congregating at a black vehicle parked two spaces away from his van. He walked to the black car to get a better view and observed the injured woman laying on the ground in a pool of blood just outside the driver's door. [MM] noticed a shell casing on the ground outside the door of the black car and observed the injured male inside the car. He ran back into the Sunset Grill and instructed the employees to call 911 because there had been a shooting. He returned to where the injured woman lay and assisted as best he could.

[NL] is an employee of Hollywood Video. That business shares the same parking lot as the location of this incident. While inside the store, she heard a loud noise that sounded like a car backfiring. One of her co-workers commented that it sounded like a gunshot. Soon, a person came into the business and instructed them to call 911 because someone had been shot. [NL] placed the call, but handed the phone to the co-worker. She went outside to investigate. She immediately noticed a woman running from the direction of the black car toward a van. The woman retrieved a towel and ran back to the black car. As she continued toward the black car, [NL] observed a man carefully carrying a handgun away from the car and placing it in another part of the parking lot. Continuing further, she saw the injured woman laying on the ground outside the driver's door of the vehicle. She saw that some people were already helping her and then noticed the crying children. She made contact with the children and the adults helping them and suggested that they move the children into her business. On the way to the store, the girl told her that her parents were getting a divorce. She then assumed that the injured woman was the mother of the children. She assisted in caring for the children for approximately 20 minutes. During this time, the girl (identified to her as Haley) disclosed that her father was taking her to Rite Aid, but when they arrived, they saw her mother. Their father instructed both children to wait in the car (maroon car) and he walked to the black car. The girt also made several other references to previous violent acts of domestic violence initiated by her father. [NL] was unclear whether these incidents happened this date or at an earlier time.

*Rodney Baker
Rod Baker was departing the Shuck's Auto Supply store in the same shopping center. As he was walking to his vehicle, he heard a "high-pitched funny sounding voice" in the parking lot. He looked around and noticed a woman standing outside the open door to the black vehicle. His view corridor allowed him to see directly along the driver's side of the black car and the car parked adjacent to it. There was evidently someone seated in the driver's seat, however he could not see inside the car. The woman was the one he had heard, although he could not make out what she was saying. He watched her for a few seconds and described her as leaning into the car, as if face to face with the person seated inside. Then, he heard her yell "Oh no...don't" right before he heard two quick gunshots. The woman fell immediately. Rod was adamant that there was less than one second between gunshots. He ran back into Shucks to alert employees to call 911. He went back toward the parking lot, however he could not determine who or where the shooter might be. When he saw a crowd of people gathering at the black car, he went to it and asked if anyone knew where the person who fired the shots was currently located. Someone directed his attention to the male in the car. Rod noted that the male was still breathing and decided to locate and isolate the gun. He described the injured male as being seated on the driver's side, but leaned way back over onto the passenger's seat. His feet were extended out the open door and were a few inches above the pavement. On the ground below his feet, Rod located the handgun. He picked it up by the end of the grip with two fingers of his right hand and moved it to another location. He directed a bystander [SS] to stay with the gun until law enforcement arrived. Since Baker touched the handgun, I asked if he would be willing to supply his own fingerprints for possible comparison to any prints taken from the handgun. He complied with this request and the fingerprint card is attached. Baker wanted to clarify that he felt the gunshots were too close together for it to be an intentional homicide/suicide attempt. I asked him what scenario he envisioned and he thought that the female may have been attempting to prevent the male from shooting himself when the gun was discharged.

All subjects interviewed provided written statements supporting their version and perspective of the events. I conducted no other interviews about this incident on this date.

Under penalty of perjury

Detective Kelly B. Busey
Date 5/6/03
Gig Harbor WA

*Note:I redacted the witness names. I left Rod Baker's since his extrapolations were published in a book .

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