Neighbors in Bonney Lake awakened by the car crash reported a terrifying scene: a man and woman staggered from the burning wreck, both in flames. Then the man started shooting at the woman.
She ran into a pasture, screaming. Their three children were in the back seat of the burning car.
Lisa Hansen, who lives nearby, heard the crash at 1 a.m. Wednesday, saw the flames and called 911. She and a friend of her sons rushed toward the scene with a blanket and a bottle of water, hoping to help.
By the time they found 18-year-old Antigone Monique Allen standing in the field, the shooting had stopped; the shooter’s hands were burned too badly for him to fire the gun. He died soon after.
“I heard a voice in a field saying, ‘Help, help, help me please,’” Hansen said. “It was the woman standing there with her shirt burned off screaming in pain, saying, ‘He did it! He did this on purpose! My three babies are in the car. Help me, please.’”
Hansen, 42, couldn’t get to the woman because an electrified fence stood between them. But as they waited for an ambulance, Allen began relaying bits of a story she would tell over and over again – to investigators and to her older sister, Laveda Allen – before she died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle nearly eight hours later.
She and the children had gone for a drive the previous evening with her estranged boyfriend, a 24-year-old construction worker identified as Genario Garcia. They had dated for 31/2 years, with some rough patches. She and her family had called police a few times to report that Garcia had struck her, Laveda Allen said.
Garcia snorted cocaine while they were out Tuesday night – something Allen had never seen him do before – and the two began arguing, Laveda said. Allen demanded that he take her home.
They stopped at a gas station, and because she had been dozing, she didn’t notice right away that he had filled a container with gasoline and placed it in the back seat.
They drove along backroads near Bonney Lake in Pierce County, east of Tacoma. Garcia pulled a gun and pointed it at her head. He grabbed the container and splashed gasoline on the children.
He flicked a lighter, and the car erupted. It left the road near the intersection of 256th Avenue and Washington 410, and flipped over.
The two stumbled from the wreck, and Garcia, who had two guns with him, began shooting. Neighbors said he fired four or five shots. Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said an autopsy would be needed to determine whether any of the bullets hit her.
Firefighters doused the car and found the three children burned to death in the back. Ambulances took Garcia and Allen to Harborview. Garcia was dead on arrival.
The Pierce County medical examiner’s office in Tacoma identified the children Wednesday night as Christine Allen-Garcia, 21/2 ; and two boys – Kristian Allen-Garcia, 1 1/2 , and 8-month-old Adam Allen-Garcia. Autopsies were scheduled Thursday, said medical investigator Amber Midkiff-Bray.
“She waited until she could say her goodbyes to everyone, and once she did that, in an hour she was gone,” said Laveda, 23. “She said she wanted to be with her babies. She wasn’t angry. She knew she was going to die, and she was willing to go, but she wanted to say bye.”
Antigone Allen – “Mona” to her family and friends – was a student at Gates High School in Parkland, where she lived with her mother. She had filed a domestic violence report against Garcia a few days before the crash, and a deputy tried to get in touch with her when she failed to follow up, Laveda said.
“I’m not upset at him,” Laveda said of Garcia. “He was a good person. He was an illegal immigrant here, but he was a hard worker and tried to do what he had to do to make it.
“He just went over the deep end. He probably just loved her too much. He didn’t want to see his kids being taken care of by another man.”
The family is planning to bury her and the three children Saturday, which would have been her 19th birthday.