$1 million bail for ‘Danger,’ accused of shooting stranger in the head

A judge found probable cause that Jose Espinoza Aguilar, 29, fired a gun that blinded a man at an Everett apartment complex.

Jose Espinoza Aguilar

Jose Espinoza Aguilar

EVERETT — Police have arrested an Arlington man nicknamed “Danger” who is suspected of shooting a stranger in the back of the head at an Everett apartment complex, according to police.

Detectives believe it’s at least the third time Jose Espinoza Aguilar, 29, has shot somebody, causing serious injury or death. He had just been released from prison for another shooting.

On the night of July 3, officers were called to reports of gunfire at an apartment near the 10100 block of Holly Drive, according to a police report. First responders arrived to find a man who suffered a gunshot to the head and transported him to a hospital.

The wounded man reported he had been walking when he encountered a man and a woman having an argument in the hall outside the apartment complex. He did not recognize them, he reportedly told police, but interrupted their argument.

Police reviewed security footage from the apartment complex and identified the suspected shooter as Espinoza Aguilar.

On Friday morning, police identified and found a black Chevrolet Cobalt they believed Espinoza Aguilar had been driving. Police tried to pull the suspect over near the 2500 block of 199th Place SW in Lynnwood, and the suspect fled, reportedly ramming head-on into a police car. Espinoza Aguilar and a passenger were taken into custody.

The passenger told police she and Espinoza Aguilar had been at the apartment complex July 3 so she could borrow a pair of pants from a friend who lived there. She said she asked to change inside an apartment, police wrote, and Espinoza Aguilar offered to let her change in the car.

The woman reportedly told police she did not feel safe going back to the car with Espinoza Aguilar.

“This upset (Espinoza Aguilar) greatly,” police wrote. “He told her ‘if you don’t get back in the car with me right now, the next person that comes out of that apartment is going to get it,’” referring to the apartment where her friend lived.

Security video reportedly shows the woman’s friend walk out of his apartment. Espinoza Aguilar immediately shot him point-blank in the head with a .45-caliber gun, according to police.

“Espinoza Aguilar flees as quickly as he appeared,” police wrote. “He is seen on neighboring exterior cameras jogging away from the apartment toward the parking lot.”

More than two weeks later, Everett District Court Judge Anthony Howard found probable cause for attempted murder in the second degree in the investigation of Espinoza Aguilar.

Police wrote the wounded man was suffering from “severe … complications including being blind.”

Court records show Espinoza Aguilar claimed self-defense when he shot a man to death in 2015. He pleaded guilty in 2018 to second-degree assault for shooting a woman in the back out of revenge at Langus Riverfront Park. He had accused the woman of stealing $2,000 in heroin from him.

After he shot her, the woman told Espinoza Aguilar she needed to go to the hospital, because she thought she was dying.

“Good,” he reportedly told her. “Just don’t die in my car. Do it in the hospital.”

Superior Court Judge David Kurtz sentenced Espinoza Aguilar to five years in prison for the shooting at the park. Police reports say he was released in May, but remained on probation through the state Department of Corrections.

Espinoza Aguilar’s bail was set at $1 million Friday. He remained in custody at the Snohomish County Jail.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; ellen.dennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

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