By Diana Hefley Herald Writer
EVERETT — One man was shot to death in January while crawling through the window of an Everett house. A second man was fatally shot early this month when he busted through a front door in Edmonds.
Both men were killed by armed homeowners. The fatal encounters remain under investigation. Search warrants filed in district court provide new details about what the homeowners said led to gunfire and what Snohomish County detectives found when they examined the scenes.
The documents describe frightened homeowners suddenly confronted by intruders. One of the strangers had a hammer. The other reportedly was talking nonsense, and had “crazy eyes,” the search warrants said.
The case in Everett
The first shooting happened around 11:30 a.m. Jan. 9 in south Everett. A Boeing worker, 54, told investigators that he was woken up by the sound of breaking glass. He grabbed a .38-caliber revolver before stepping outside his bedroom to investigate. The man said he saw a stranger crawling through a broken window in the kitchen. He said the burglar had a hammer in his hand, according to court records.
He fired once at the burglar, the homeowner said. He also told deputies that after the shooting, he stood over the fallen man until it became clear that the man was unconscious, court papers said. The homeowner called 911, telling the dispatcher that he’d shot someone.
He explained that the burglar was lying on the living room floor. He also said there was a car parked in front of his home and he believed it belonged to the man he’d shot.
Deputies raced to the home. They found the slain man, later identified as Johnny Sok, bleeding from what appeared to be two gunshot wounds. Paramedics determined that Sok, 22, was dead. The medical examiner later concluded that Sok had died from multiple gunshot wounds.
Deputies at the scene spotted what appeared to be a fired bullet in the waistband of Sok’s underwear. There was a set of car keys next to his hand. Detectives also noted that a plate glass window toward the rear of the house was broken. They also spotted a black hammer on a table. There was what appeared to be a fired bullet resting on the broken window, wedged between what remained of the glass panes, court papers said. They found the homeowner’s gun on a kitchen counter.
The homeowner declined to provide any further statement to deputies.
Deputies canvassed the neighborhood and learned that a neighbor had spotted a man, matching Sok’s description, walking toward the front of the house where the shooting happened. He said the man was wearing a stocking cap and dark clothing.
The car outside the house was registered to Sok. The Toyota was being sought by Everett police in connection with a Jan. 2 burglary in the city, according to court documents. Sok also was named as possible suspect in the investigation, the search warrant said.
The case in Edmonds
About a month after Sok’s death, sheriff’s detectives were called to investigate another fatal encounter between a homeowner and burglary suspect.
The Edmonds man told investigators that he heard someone knocking on his sliding glass door about 8 p.m. on Feb. 7. He opened the door and briefly spoke with the man. He said the man was “sweaty” and had “crazy eyes.” The stranger was talking about field mice and said something about “this being a game,” the homeowner told police. The man asked to come inside but the homeowner turned him away, shut the door and turned off the lights in the house.
The homeowner told investigators that he armed himself with a gun and called 911. Then he heard noises coming from another part of his home and saw the same man approaching his front door. The homeowner, still on the phone with an emergency dispatcher, told the man to leave and warned him that he had a gun, court papers said. The homeowner told investigators that the stranger kicked in the door and stepped inside. That’s when he fired, he said.
Deputies noted that the front door was splintered. Deputies found Kenneth Talley, 26, on the ground inside the entryway. He died at the scene. The medical examiner ruled that Talley had been shot multiple times.
Deputies found three spent shell casings on the floor in the living room next to the couch near Talley, according to the court papers.
During their investigation, detectives learned that several minutes before the shooting, sheriff’s deputies received reports of a car prowl about a block away. The caller told a dispatcher that someone who was trying to break into a car fled and was possibly running through back yards.
Man trackers later were able to determine that the person who was breaking into the car had run toward the house where the shooting happened, court papers said.
No arrests have been made in either case. Both investigations are expected to be reviewed by prosecutors, who will decide whether the shootings were legally justified.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.