Seattle man charged with murder in Delridge encampment killing

King County prosecutors on Friday charged a 43-year-old Seattle man with second-degree murder, accusing him of fatally shooting a man in the face at a West Seattle homeless encampment early Tuesday, the culmination of a violent spree that allegedly injured two others.

Jaycee Thompson, who appears to be homeless, was also charged with attempted first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, though charging papers note he could face additional charges as the Seattle police investigation continues.

Thompson was arrested Thursday about two miles south of the encampment where 56-year-old Anthony Gonzalez was shot in the face with a shotgun. Thompson remains jailed in lieu of $5 million bail, jail and court records show.

Gonzalez is one of three men to be killed in separate shootings at different homeless encampments in the city this week, according to Seattle police.

At about 11:20 p.m. Monday, a group of people were hanging out in an alley in the 9400 block of Delridge Way Southwest when a man drove up in a white work van that turned out to have been stolen in Bothell, according to the charges. The man, who was later identified as Thompson, got out of the van with a pistol-grip shotgun and ordered one man to empty his pockets. The man, who said he considered Thompson a friend, told police he thought Thompson was kidding but Thompson then struck the man in the head with the gun, say the charges, which note the man was still unable to hear out of his left ear hours later.

The encounter in the alley was captured by video-surveillance cameras, the charges say.

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Fifty minutes later, Seattle police responded to a report of a shooting at 16th Avenue Southwest and Southwest Barton Street, which is less than a quarter mile from the alley. A 35-year-old man was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he has undergone more than one surgery to remove buckshot, the kind of ammunition used in shotguns, from his abdomen, say charging papers. Police have been unable to interview the man because he is intubated and heavily sedated. Thompson hasn’t been charged in connection with the shooting but police suspect it is connected.

Seattle police then received several 911 calls at 12:20 a.m. Tuesday, reporting a shooting at a homeless encampment in the greenbelt west of Southwest Juneau Street and Delridge Way Southwest, according to the charges. Officers found Gonzalez dead inside a structure there. Witnesses told police the gunman arrived and left in a white van.

The motive for Gonzalez’s death isn’t clear because one witness later told police the gunman who barged into Gonzalez’s makeshift structure demanded to know, “Where is the girl in the ground?” A second witness heard the gunman demand drugs and money, according to charging papers. Both witnesses identified Thompson as the shooter.

One witness, who knows Thompson, told investigators he was standing outside a tent when Thompson got out of the van, pointed a shotgun at his chest and demanded to be taken to Gonzalez, say the charging papers. The man complied and later told police Thompson asked Gonzalez a question but didn’t wait for an answer before shooting him.

Police found the stolen van less than a mile from where Thompson was arrested on Thursday and officers looked through the windows and saw what appeared to be the barrel of a 12-gauge shotgun, the charges say.

In addition to Gonzalez, two other men were killed at homeless encampments in Ballard and the Chinatown International District over the past week. No arrests have been made in connection with their deaths.

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Dylan Hunter, 37, died from a gunshot wound to the head Friday, June 17 at a Ballard encampment, though his body wasn’t discovered until the next day.

Just after 12 a.m. Friday, June 24, Seattle police responded to a report of a shooting at an encampment near 12th Avenue South and South Lane Street, where a 31-year-old man died at the scene. His identity has not yet been released by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Seattle police have investigated 25 homicides so far this year, six of them in the past week, according to a Seattle Times database compiled with information from police, prosecutors and the medical examiner. In addition to the three homicides at homeless encampments, police responded to a double homicide in Wallingford early Wednesday. Also Wednesday, Seattle police were called to assist University of Washington police after a woman’s remains were found in a greenbelt on Monday.

The Wallingford victims have been identified as James Smith Jr., 37, and Victoria Phillips, 25. Both died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the medical examiner.

The woman found by UW police had been reported missing in Seattle, according to police. She was identified Friday as 56-year-old Mavis Nelson. Though the medical examiner said Nelson died from multiple sharp-force wounds, her date of death has not yet been determined.

Staff reporter Paige Cornwell contributed to this story.

Article Source: The Seattle Times