Everett police look over a Chevy Corvette after arresting the suspect in a homicide in the 1700 block of McDougall Avenue on Friday, May 24, 2019 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Everett police look over a Chevy Corvette after arresting the suspect in a homicide in the 1700 block of McDougall Avenue on Friday, May 24, 2019 in Everett, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

32 people killed in Snohomish County homicides last year

Everett had 14 homicides in 2023. The rest of the county saw 18. Already in 2024, the county has seen two homicides.

EVERETT — A shooting on New Year’s Eve in a Lake Stevens apartment marked Snohomish County’s 32nd homicide of the year.

Late on Dec. 30, Neil Forestier went to the Creekside Alehouse & Grill with a woman he’d been dating, according to a police report filed in court. They ran into an acquaintance, Joshua Kelly, and headed back to the woman’s apartment in Lake Stevens after the bar closed early the next morning. The two men decided to play-fight. Forestier, 27, landed a punch that knocked the wind out of Kelly, and moments later, Kelly allegedly picked up a handgun and shot Forestier, killing him.

Police arrested Kelly for investigation of second-degree murder.

Eighty-two people have died by homicide in Snohomish County since 2021, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office. Last year, Everett saw 14 homicides — three more than the city had in 2022 and over twice as many as 2021.

Countywide, homicides dropped ever so slightly, from a record of 33 in 2022 to 32 last year.

Homicide is defined under state law as the killing of another person: murder, homicide by abuse, manslaughter, excusable homicide or justifiable homicide. The medical examiner’s office determines if a death is homicide.

Even if an autopsy happens in Snohomish County, sometimes the lead investigative agency is outside of Snohomish County, leading to a discrepancy between homicide numbers provided by police departments and the medical examiner. For example, in 2019, somebody was injured in Yakima, but died in Everett two years later — even though it was determined the injury ultimately led to the death. So the medical examiner’s office included the death in Snohomish County’s homicide numbers, but Everett police didn’t investigate it, said Nicole Krueger, operations manager for the medical examiner’s office.

In July, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs released its annual crime report for 2022, finding the number of murders in Washington were at their highest level since 1980. The number, 394, was a 16.6% increase over the previous year.

Snohomish County recorded 33 homicides in 2022, with three-quarters of those being murder, according to data from both the medical examiner and the annual crime report.

The numbers can differ year to year because victims sometimes die at a later date, or in overdose deaths, the case could eventually be charged as a controlled substance homicide, Arlington Police Chief Jonathan Ventura said. The Arlington Police Department has not reported a homicide in its annual report since 2021. But prosecutors charged Robin Clariday last year with controlled substance homicide in the death of Bradley Herron, who died last January, based on an Arlington police investigation.

Since 2021, the medical examiner’s office has recorded seven homicides in Lynnwood. Last year, the city had two. Marysville has documented four homicides since 2021. Two of those four came in 2023.

The numbers include people killed in confrontations with police. Four men were fatally shot by police last year: one in Lake Stevens and three in Everett.

To the south, Seattle saw 69 homicides in 2023, tying a record number of violent deaths last seen in 1994, according to The Seattle Times. King County recorded 141 homicides for the year.

Already in 2024, Snohomish County has recorded two homicides.

On Jan. 2, Kristopher Dillard met up with a woman and her friend at the Big Eddy boat launch east of Gold Bar, according to a police report.

Dillard was reportedly there to talk about repair work on the woman’s car. The woman denied Dillard’s romantic advances, and he allegedly shot her friend to death before pistol-whipping her with the gun. After a police chase that ended with Dillard trying to escape by floating down the chilly Skykomish River, deputies managed to arrest him for investigation of first-degree murder and third-degree assault.

Nine hours after police arrested Dillard, a pedestrian was crossing the street at Edmonds Way and 236th Street SW. Rideshare driver Abdulkadir Shariff Gedi had just dropped off a couple of passengers. He was turning left at the intersection.

The pedestrian shot at Gedi, according to police. The SeaTac man later died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was 31.

The suspected shooter was last seen fleeing east on 236th Street.

Gedi was a beloved member and volunteer of the Abubakr Islamic Center in Tukwila, remembered for his kindness.

On Wednesday afternoon, a week after Gedi’s killing, police detained a 21-year-old Edmonds man in the shooting. The investigation was still active.

Help is available

There are free and confidential resources for people in crisis or those grieving the loss of a loved one.

If there is an immediate danger, call 911.

Swedish Edmonds Traumatic Loss Support Group: 425-640-4404 (call).

Victim Support Services: victimsupportservices.org; 888-288-9221 (call).

Camp Erin (Annual weekend camp for children and teens experiencing loss)

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org.

Care Crisis Chat: imhurting.org (chat); 800-584-3578 (call).

Compass Health’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Team may be contacted at anytime by calling the Volunteers of America crisis line: 1-800-584-3578.

Jonathan Tall: 425-339-3486; jonathan.tall@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @snocojon.

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