Police respond to the scene of an apparent road rage shooting on Glenwood Avenue near 51st Place SW in Everett on July 6. One man was killed. (Janice Podsada / Herald file)

Police respond to the scene of an apparent road rage shooting on Glenwood Avenue near 51st Place SW in Everett on July 6. One man was killed. (Janice Podsada / Herald file)

‘Calm and emotionless:’ charges filed in road rage killing

Prosecutors say Simeon Berkley intentionally slammed the brakes, then shot a man twice in the head.

EVERETT — Witnesses described a man as “excessively calm and emotionless” in the moments after he allegedly shot a stranger twice in the head in Everett during a road rage incident earlier this month, according to new charges filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Simeon Berkley, 74, of Everett, was still lingering at the scene in the 5200 block of Glenwood Avenue when police arrived on July 6. He appeared to enjoy the attention, witnesses reported.

He was charged Friday with second-degree murder. The man he is accused of killing, Steven Whitemarsh, was described as a well-liked manager at a Safeway in Everett and the father of three girls. He was on his way to a union meeting.

“He was a great friend, co-worker, dad, son and brother,” his family said in a statement. “You were his friend the second you met him and he always had a smile on his face.”

Berkley was released from the Snohomish County Jail July 17 after posting $750,000 bond.

If convicted, Berkley could face up to 23 years in prison, according to state guidelines, based in part on his lack of criminal history. A California jury in 1991 acquitted Berkely of attempted murder after he shot a man in the back, paralyzing him, following a near-crash on a San Diego-area freeway. During his trial, Berkley argued that he acted in self defense.

July’s encounter on Glenwood Avenue appeared to be inspired by road rage, authorities said.

Berkley was driving a Honda Accord when he was rear-ended around 7 p.m. by a Lincoln Navigator SUV, according to a police report.

When talking to a witness, Berkley reportedly claimed that Whitemarsh was drunk and had been harassing him. Berkley explained he slowed down to let Whitemarsh drive around.

A diagnostics report from Berkley’s car showed that he was going 60 mph when he slammed on the brakes hard enough to activate the anti-locking system, according to charging papers.

The speed limit on that section of Glenwood is 35 mph.

A family said they were driving by when they saw the rear-end collision and pulled over. They watched as Berkley got out of his car with a gun drawn, down by his side, according to court papers. He then walked up to the Lincoln’s driver-side window, which had been rolled down, and shot Whitemarsh, they reported.

Then, after a few seconds, Berkley allegedly fired again.

When another witness arrived at the scene, with a video camera running, Whitemarsh’s SUV was smoking and revving loudly.

In the video, Berkley reportedly told the witness not to bother helping Whitemarsh. “He’s got two bullets in his head,” he said, according to charging papers.

A medical examiner reportedly described a gunshot wound to Whitemarsh’s face and another in the back of his head. It appeared the bullets had been fired from about three feet away through an open car window, police wrote. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a homicide.

Berkley stayed at the scene, court papers say. Police found him standing on the sidewalk nearby, talking on a cellphone. After witnesses pointed him out, officers allegedly found a loaded .380-caliber pistol in his pocket. A bullet was in the chamber.

The gun’s ammunition appeared to match two casings found near Whitemarsh’s vehicle.

Berkley briefly talked to an Everett police officer, according to charging court documents.

“I’ll make your job easy, it was self defense,” he reportedly said. “He was chasing me.”

However, a witness said he didn’t hear any arguing happen before the shooting, according to the police report. Any conversation they did have would have been brief, the witness reported.

“Nothing at the scene or statements provided by witnesses indicated that Berkley was in any danger at the time of the shooting,” an officer wrote.

Later, the defendant’s wife told police that he’d left home to pick up dinner from a restaurant in Mukilteo. She said he didn’t say what happened but told her that she needed to call the restaurant and tell them that he was going to be delayed in picking up their food.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Karen Moore
Civil attorney appointed to be Snohomish County judge

Karen Moore is a former deputy prosecutor. She also has experience as a pro tem judge and commissioner.

Eastside Tire and Muffler on Avenue D in Snohomish burns early Wednesday. (Snohomish County Fire District 4) 20210512
Snohomish tire store erupts in flames

The fire at Eastside Tire and Muffler was reported early Wednesday morning.

No one hurt in Lake Bosworth house fire

Fire crews arrived at the scene to find a small home engulfed in flames. It was destroyed.

Two E. Coli cases in Snohomish County; one child hospitalized

Authorities linked the cases to an outbreak in King County, possibly stemming from fresh produce.

Crews contracted by the Washington State Department of Transportation for pavement work on the U.S. 2 bridge over the Pilchuck River are set to close one lane this weekend to replace and install expansion joints. (WSDOT)
U.S. 2 Pilchuck River bridge closure and work delayed

The Pilchuck River bridge east of Highway 9 was set to close to one lane this weekend.

Josh Otusanya, 27, former Lake Stevens high soccer star turned comedian, has 4.6 million followers on TikTok for his inspirational videos from his family's home. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
A funny local TikToker with 5M followers offers life hacks

Josh Otusanya, a Lake Stevens soccer star turned New York comedian, reinvented himself in his family’s basement.

Jeffrey Phebus is sentenced to over 31 years in prison for the murder of his wife Rebecca Phebus, on Monday, May 10, 2021, at the Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
‘No words’: Arlington man sentenced for killing wife at work

Jeffery Phebus, 61, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. He was sentenced to 31⅔ years in prison Monday.

Deborah Rumbaugh (left), Jay Jordan (center) and John Boyd are finalists for the Stanwood School District's superintendent position.
Finalists for Stanwood schools chief are coming to town

Each will visit the district this week to meet staff and take part in a virtual community forum.

Herald Street Smarts columnist Ben Watanabe and Edmonds City Councilman Luke Distelhorst tour planned new bike lanes on Bowdoin Way on Tuesday morning in Edmonds. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Edmonds will add more bike lanes, reduce some street parking

The city will use a $1.85 million grant from Sound Transit to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections.

Most Read