Crowded party, fatal shooting — and few cooperating witnesses

Police say they encountered “a hostile crowd” on Dec. 14 at a private party at the Edmonds Senior Center.

Alexander Rhodes (GoFundMe.com)

Alexander Rhodes (GoFundMe.com)

EDMONDS — Police are having trouble finding reliable witnesses for a fatal shooting at the Edmonds Senior Center in December.

Alexander Rhodes, 23, of SeaTac, was shot multiple times during a private party on Dec. 14. Shell casings from two types of guns were recovered at the scene, but no firearms have been found.

From a party of more than 100 people, only a few have talked to officers. And those few have provided varied amounts of information, according to the Edmonds Police Department.

“Even officers who were outside when the shooting started and rushed into the scene to tend to the victim were met with a hostile crowd,” a police statement said.

Witness accounts on the night of the shooting led to a man’s arrest, but he was later released. Snohomish County prosecutors didn’t file charges against him. Police are looking for other witnesses to step forward.

One person came forward during a vigil for the victim and provided cell phone footage, which was said to be taken around the time of the homicide.

The police department released an edited, five-second version of the video, showing people walking around and shouting.

At the end, the person holding the phone zooms in toward a wall, but the video quality is too grainy to identify anything with certainty. Police say they are still investigating what the subject of the video might be.

While the footage doesn’t offer any definitive evidence, officer Josh McClure said it does show there are potential witnesses.

“You’re seeing chaos,” he said. “There are people there. There are people running around. There are people taking video.”

The unedited video is 10-12 seconds longer, McClure said. He said the person who provided the video is likely not the same person who made it.

So far, no one else has provided information about the shooting, police said. If the investigation is going to be successful, witnesses will need to step forward, McClure said.

“Our goal is to bring this young man’s killer to justice, but we are going to need the people who were there to come forward and be honest about what happened,” detective Andy Mehl said in a statement.

Tips can be directed to policetips@edmondswa.gov or 425-771-0212.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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