By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — The Everett man merely wanted to help a stranger who claimed he needed to get to Marysville to see his ailing father.
Instead, the Good Samaritan was terrorized and threatened at gunpoint. His pickup truck was stolen — only after his passenger allegedly fired a bullet through the windshield.
The victim, 61, told the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office that he was able to escape the truck and run off when his attacker ordered him to stop to rob him. The search for the carjacker Monday morning led police to ask the Marysville School District to close three of its schools near where the abandoned pickup was found.
The suspect was tracked down through some quick police work, including clues that led to the man’s Facebook page.
Firas Rahim Al-Zayady, 31, was arrested Tuesday for investigation of robbery, assault, unlawful possession of a firearm and auto theft.
Sheriff’s deputies said the victim was warming his truck Monday morning in the 3000 block of 17th Street in Everett when a man walked up to him. The stranger told him he needed to get to Marysville because his father was sick.
The victim obliged.
Trouble soon followed.
As they headed north along Highway 529, Al-Zayady reportedly called a woman to say he was on his way. He handed the phone to the victim and the woman asked if he knew how to get to Marysville Middle School to drop off his passenger.
The driver said he would have to leave his passenger at Fourth Street because he needed to get to work.
Along the way, Al-Zayady reportedly asked the man if he had a cigarette and if he gets high. The victim said he did not.
As the driver was watching traffic in his mirror, Al-Zayady allegedly pulled out a gun and held it near the man’s face before pointing it at the windshield and firing a round.
That’s when the suspect allegedly demanded that the driver stop the pickup struck near Ebey Slough on Highway 529 to rob him. When the victim said he only had $10, his attacker called him a liar, court papers said.
The driver said his wallet was in a bag in the backseat. When the suspect leaned back to reach for it, the driver bailed out of the pickup and ran south along the one-way stretch of highway. The suspect drove off.
Marysville police found the pickup a short time later. They noted the bullet hole in the windshield on the passenger side.
A police dog followed a trail from the truck to a nearby apartment. Officers learned that a woman, 38, had driven the suspect away from there. When she returned, she told police that she only knew the suspect by the name “Chris,” but they they were Facebook friends.
That social media detail helped police identify the suspect as Al-Zayady.
Investigators found a police report Al-Zayady filed Feb. 5 in which he said someone broke the back window of his car and threw something flammable inside, burning the interior. The report listed his address.
He was described in court papers as a “six-time felon with firearms history.”
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.