SEATTLE -- A 31-year-old Seattle man is being held without bail in what police describe as a three-day spate of shootings that left the owner of one business dead, the owner of another in critical condition and the driver of a car wounded in the leg.
According to authorities, the suspect shot and critically injured the owner of an African import specialty store in Seattle's Columbia City neighborhood on Monday. He demanded the businessman's debit card and PIN, then shot him in the chest after he complied, police said in a probable cause statement filed in King County Superior Court.
The man also shot into a Tesla moving along Aurora Avenue in north Seattle less than 12 hours later, wounding the driver in the leg, police said, and on Tuesday he pulled his car alongside a woman's vehicle and fired a round into her window. She suffered cuts from broken glass but her three children were uninjured.
On Wednesday, the man ambushed and killed D’Vonne Pickett Jr., the owner of The Postman, a package shipping store in the Central District, as Pickett arrived at the business, police said. The gunman was a former childhood friend who had been harassing Pickett online and via text messages; he also showed up at The Postman last month before employees told him to leave, the probable cause statement said.
Hundreds attended a vigil for Pickett on Thursday, spelling out his name in candles and placing long-stemmed roses at the spot where he collapsed, The Seattle Times reported.
Pickett’s mother, Nicky Chappell, said the man threatened to kill her son and had been harassing him and other family members for more than a year. Chappell vowed to attend every one of the man’s future court appearances.
The Associated Press is not naming the man because he has not yet been charged.
“This defendant is incredibly dangerous, perhaps the most dangerous defendant this court has seen recently,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor William Doyle told District Court Pro Tem Judge Tien Nguyen during a hearing Friday.
Investigators said surveillance video from the African specialty import store, the exterior cameras on the Tesla and Pickett's killing linked the shootings. Detectives are also examining shell casings and other evidence.
Further, a relative of the suspect called 911 on Wednesday to report that he appeared to be having a psychotic episode and “may be traveling around Seattle shooting people,” the statement said.
“I find that the suspect’s clothing, stature, build, personal appearance and vehicle are consistent among the investigations,” Seattle Police Detective Matthew Atkinson wrote in the probable cause statement.
When the man was arrested Thursday at his South Seattle apartment, he was wearing the same shirt, shorts and shoes as seen in the videos, the statement says.