A large number off law enforcement are gathered at a Skykomish River water access on Ben Howard Road on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

A large number off law enforcement are gathered at a Skykomish River water access on Ben Howard Road on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)

Detective: Gold Bar killer who fled into river was ‘armed career criminal’

Deputies believe Kristopher Dillard, 44, shot a woman in front of her best friend at the Big Eddy boat launch.

GOLD BAR — A Gold Bar man killed a woman’s friend, then pistol-whipped the woman, in a rage over how she wouldn’t date him, according to a new police report filed in court.

Kristopher Dillard, 44, remained on the run for about 18 hours, until deputies discovered him hiding in the back of a truck Wednesday afternoon alongside the Skykomish River east of Monroe, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

Dillard tried to flee by running into the frigid and coursing waters, but was arrested in “short order” for investigation of first-degree murder, sheriff’s detective David Bilyeu wrote.

Around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, a woman reportedly received a message from Dillard, who claimed he wanted to talk about repair work on her car. The woman had a “narcotics selling/buying” relationship with Dillard, and he told her to meet him at the Big Eddy boat launch east of Gold Bar, according to the detective’s report.

After work, the woman and her best friend met Dillard at the boat launch around 7 p.m. Dillard drove there in a maroon Ford F-250 and parked next to her car, according to the report.

He entered her car from the unoccupied back seat, detectives wrote. The three talked about drugs and the car, but Dillard abruptly changed the conversation to talk about “us” — referring to himself and the driver as a couple.

The woman reportedly said she thought the two of them were only friends. Dillard told the woman he wanted her to leave the car and join him in his truck, the detective wrote. She responded by telling him to get out of her car.

“Well, you have seen the generous side of me, now you are going to see the other side,” Dillard reportedly told her.

A Gold Bar man, 44, was taken into police custody just after 1 p.m. Wednesday for first-degree murder in connection to the Tuesday night homicide in Gold Bar, Washington. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

A Gold Bar man, 44, was taken into police custody just after 1 p.m. Wednesday for first-degree murder in connection to the Tuesday night homicide in Gold Bar, Washington. (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

Dillard then shot the woman in the passenger seat in the head, killing her, then pistol-whipped the driver, according to the report. The wounded woman escaped her car. Dillard reportedly followed. The two got into a physical struggle outside their vehicles, and the woman yelled at her friend to call 911, the detective wrote.

“Your friend is dead. I told you this is what happens,” he allegedly said.

The woman managed to get back inside of her car. She spotted an “antique cowboy gun” on the ground between the cars, Bilyeu wrote. As she drove off, she heard three to four more gunshots, she later reported.

The woman called 911, speeding west of Gold Bar toward Monroe. She reported her friend had been murdered in front of her and she was driving 90 mph, the report said. Her car became disabled in Monroe near U.S. 2 and Old Owen Road. She abandoned her car and waited until police arrived, according to police documents. She identified Dillard to deputies.

The wounded woman was taken to Evergreen Hospital in Monroe where she was treated for a head injury and a broken nose.

Around 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies found Dillard near the 22100 block of Ben Howard Road in Monroe. Dillard reportedly ran into the Skykomish River, floating downstream for around 10 minutes before deputies managed to reach him, sheriff’s office spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe said. He traveled a couple hundred yards before deputies took him into custody.

Kristopher Dillard (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Kristopher Dillard (Washington State Department of Corrections)

Dillard was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree murder and third-degree assault.

In a police interview, Dillard denied shooting and assaulting the women. He reportedly admitted to being at the scene when he heard a gunshot, the report said.

Dillard remained in the hospital Thursday. He did not appear for a bail hearing Thursday in Everett District Court.

A state and federal criminal justice database search suggested Dillard was an “armed career criminal,” detectives wrote. Court records show he’d been convicted of numerous robberies around Puget Sound.

He’d been convicted of burglary in 1994, first-degree theft in 1995, unlawful firearm possession in 2000 and four counts of second-degree robbery in 2001.

In late 2001, while serving a prison sentence for a series of King County bank robberies, Dillard escaped from a state Department of Natural Resources work crew in Grays Harbor County. A couple days later, he robbed the Sterling Savings Bank in Auburn without using a weapon, according to court records. He later turned himself in, at the urging of his then-girlfriend, court records say. He was convicted of that bank robbery in federal court and sentenced to five years in federal prison. He was released in 2007, then put on probation for three years.

In August 2011, Dillard robbed a Wells Fargo Bank in Kent. He pointed what appeared to be a pistol at a bank teller’s head and fled with about $11,700, court documents said. The same month, Dillard robbed the U.S. Bank in Kent, using the same method. He fled with about $3,400.

The next month, Dillard robbed the Key Bank in Kirkland, escaping with about $3,000. A witness noticed a man in a ski mask fleeing the bank and hopping into a pickup truck. He tried to order him to stop, but when the driver revved the engine at him, the witness got out of the way. He wrote down part of the license plate, leading police to the suspect.

Dillard was sentenced to 12⅓ years in state prison in 2012. He was last released in January 2020.

The Gold Bar killing was one of four homicides in Snohomish County in the past week.

On Dec. 29, a man and a woman died in the 2500 block of Euclid Avenue in Everett. It was a suspected murder-suicide.

Early Sunday morning, Joshua Kelly allegedly shot and killed a man in a Lake Stevens apartment, where the two had been play-fighting. Police arrested Kelly for investigation of second-degree murder.

And around 10:15 p.m. Wednesday, a gunman shot a driver near the intersection of 236th Street SW and Edmonds Way, according to witnesses. Police suspected it was a “chance encounter.” The wounded man, 31, of SeaTac, was rushed to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he later died. Police were still searching for the shooter Thursday.

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

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