Gunshot death shakes Everett neighborhood

EVERETT – It may be a case of self-defense. It may be a burglary gone bad. This much is clear: Gunfire Tuesday night left one man dead.

It’s the fourth shooting death in Everett in two weeks.

Neighbors tell a story of a home invasion, gun blasts, a struggle and shots fired in protection.

Police are still investigating to determine exactly what led to the shooting about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 2300 block of Wetmore Avenue.

“We simply need time at this point to put it all together,” Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.

Police don’t believe the killing to be random, he said. No arrests have been made.

Neighbors tell a frightening story of gunshots in the night.

Gretchen Galstad was watching TV when she heard the blasts on the other side of her apartment wall, she said. She dove to the floor and called 911.

From her first-floor apartment she heard a commotion in the front of the building.

On Wednesday morning, she talked to her upstairs neighbor, who witnessed what happened.

Apparently someone kicked in the front door at the same time another man was leaving the upstairs apartment, Galstad said.

The door showed signs of a break-in Wednesday morning.

The intruder hit the man with a handgun, went up the front stairs and fired a few shots, Galstad said.

The man who was struck with the gun, a friend of the upstairs tenant, managed to wrestle the weapon away. He shot the intruder, she said.

When police arrived, an officer told her to lock the doors and stay put.

“I turned my TV off and hid,” she said.

On Tuesday night, police interrogated a man they found covered with blood and walking on a sidewalk near the home when the first officers arrived, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.

The man, in his 20s, was a friend of the upstairs tenant and had earlier been visiting the home where the shooting occurred.

Galstad said the man shot the intruder.

Police later released him after determining they had no legal grounds to detain him, Goetz said.

The Snohomish County medical examiner completed an autopsy Wednesday on the man who was shot to death. His name was withheld pending notification of family.

Police said the slain man was in his 20s.

Investigators have a “fairly decent picture” of what happened, Goetz said.

On Wednesday, bullet holes could be seen on the stairway area of the tan house where the shooting occurred.

The violence comes on the heels of three other recent gun-related deaths in the city.

On Saturday, police found the body of Robert John Sandgren, 18, in a home in the 5400 block of Broadway. Two men are in the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of murder. A third man was arrested Wednesday.

On March 19, police found the bodies of an elderly couple in the 600 block of 112th Street SE. The deaths were ruled a murder-suicide, the Snohomish County medical examiner said.

In January, an Everett man, 31, was shot outside his W. Casino Road apartment. His girlfriend is waiting trial on murder charges.

The national average for homicides is 5.6 per 100,000 people, according to 2005 statistics released by the FBI.

Historically, Everett has been below that average.

“We have no indication that there is a pattern of violence,” Goetz said. “These are all unrelated incidents.”

Still, the shooting has left Galstad shaken. Even though she moved into the Wetmore Avenue apartment less than a year ago, she said she’s now considering moving.

“Now I don’t even feel safe here,” she said. “It’s taken away my peace and tranquility. I’ll be sleeping with one eye open and looking over my shoulder.”

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