By CATHY LOGG
MILL CREEK – Candi Reeves was asleep when the bullets began slamming through the window and wall into her bedroom about 6 Thursday morning. Lying beside her, her husband, Michael Dickensheets, grabbed her from behind and curled his arms around her head to protect her.
It wasn’t until after the bullets stopped and Dickensheets crawled on the floor around the bed to grab the phone and call 911 that he saw the trail of blood on the carpet and realized he’d been shot – and that his forearm had kept a bullet from barreling into Candi’s head.
The two consider themselves and their children lucky to have survived what may have been a random spray of gunfire – one of at least three volleys that blasted the city’s morning stillness and rousted neighbors. The other volleys appear to have attacked only traffic signs just blocks away, but outside the city limits. One sign had 23 holes and numerous splinters in the wooden post.
Eight shots of what appear to be high-caliber bullets fired from a rifle sprayed across the front of the couple’s red brick and white board, two-story home. One smashed a large vanity mirror. Another smashed through a wall at the corner of a bedroom where two children slept.
Mill Creek police and Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies are investigating the drive-by shooting. It’s only the third shooting in Mill Creek since the city incorporated in 1983, city police spokeswoman Becky Erk said.
Reeves and Dickensheets watched as deputies used lasers to determine the bullets’ trajectories and traced them with strings out to the street in front of the house.
"I still have a hard time believing it could happen where I live," Dickensheets said.
Investigators hope the public can help them identify the shooter.
A man heading for work nearby had stopped his car at Seattle Hill Road, behind the couple’s home in the 3300 block of 151st Place SE. He watched as a motorcycle drove by, Erk said. A full-size light brown van, possibly a Chevrolet or Ford, rushed south past the side of the couple’s house to Seattle Hill Road and pulled out quickly, nearly striking the motorcycle, the man told police. Investigators hope the motorcycle rider will call so they can learn any details about the van, Erk said.
Dickensheets was treated at Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, where doctors removed a bullet fragment embedded near the bone and stitched up his arm.
The couple recall three distinct volleys of shooting, 10 or 15 minutes apart. The third spate of bullets were the ones that struck the house.
The bullets didn’t awaken the children, a girl, 10, and a boy, 11. Reeves asked that the children’s names not be published.
After police arrived, the couple, still in their pajamas, went to the hospital. Dickensheets and the children rode in an ambulance and Reeves followed, driven by friends, after being given oxygen and water at the scene.
Other residents in the neighborhood heard the shots, but many also thought they were fireworks.
"They said it was like fireworks – like pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!" Erk said. "Sometimes people have a hard time ascertaining the difference between fireworks and gunshots. It’s so close to Fourth of July that people may have falsely assumed it was fireworks."
Police sealed off the property and spent much of the day investigating and collecting evidence while hundreds of people stood outside or drove by to check out the scene.
The sheriff’s office received numerous tips of indiscriminate shooting in the 3700 and 4100 blocks of 156th Street SE, near the couple’s home, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jan Jorgensen said. Because of the close proximity and time frame of the incidents, investigators believe the shootings most likely are related and are random.
Authorities ask anyone with information about the van or the shooting to call Mill Creek police at 425-337-1115. Sheriff’s investigators ask anyone with information about the shootings on 156th Street to call Detective Dixon Poole at 425-744-6872.