Mill Creek woman surveys home raked by gunfire

By CATHY LOGG

Herald Writer

MILL CREEK – With a full day behind her after the initial terror, Candi Reeves wasn’t prepared for the sights and insights that swamped her Friday when she returned to the place where she nearly died the day before:

The splinter mark on the nightstand where a bullet hit, sending one fragment into the pillow on which her head lay, and the second fragment embedded in her husband’s arm, which was protectively wrapped around her head.

The dark red bloodstains on the still-rumpled, emerald green sheets.

The stained pillow, slit open so police could remove the slug buried deep within.

The white bathrobe hanging on the bedpost, now riddled with four holes where a bullet tore through its folds.

"I never realized how close we came to dying," Reeves said, lifting the incised pillow and straightening it on the bed. "That’s what angers me. I knew that the bullets were close, but …"

Reeves, 44, her husband, Michael Dickensheets, 45, and their two children, were sleeping shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday when a volley of what she guessed to be 10 to 15 rifle shots shattered the morning quiet and bullets began whizzing past them. Eight bullets hit their house in the 3300 block of 151st Place SE.

Mill Creek police think the family was victimized by random gunfire, and are investigating, along with Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies, who received numerous complaints of gunfire a short distance from the couple’s home, but outside the city limits.

The pair and their children spent the night elsewhere as investigators worked into the night at their house.

"Coming back here and looking at everything, I was shocked," Reeves said. "It really brought it home."

Two bullets shattered a large vanity mirror, now spider-webbed with cracks, then slammed through a wall into a bathroom. Broken glass littered the white carpet and spread across the vanity among the wedding photograph, pictures of their children, a candle and a laptop computer.

One bullet entered the house high in the front hallway downstairs, tearing through their second-floor bedroom wall, narrowly missing a white teddy bear before burying itself in the ceiling.

They walked through the house, horrified at the things they hadn’t seen in their rush to leave the morning before, still in their pajamas.

"I thought, ‘It’s a good thing (a bullet) didn’t hit the fish tank. It would have made a real mess,’" Reeves said.

"You just can’t imagine how someone could do this," Dickensheets said.

He’s heard rifle shots buzz over his head as he crawled on his belly during training in the Air Force, he said. On Thursday it sounded the same, he said, "but you’re in denial. You don’t want to recognize it."

After the shooting stopped, the couple rolled onto the floor. Dickensheets crawled around the bed to the phone and called 911, then handed the phone to Reeves, who told dispatchers of the shooting and that he had been wounded. Then she crawled on her hands and knees to the other side of the house to check on two of their children. The youngsters, 10 and 11, were sleeping in a part of the house untouched by the shooting spree.

On Thursday, Reeves said she didn’t want to stay there anymore. Cleaning up the mess, replacing the carpet and ridding the house of reminders of their terror will take time, they said.

"Certainly there’s going to be some adjustment period," Dickensheets said.

"It makes you feel like suddenly the things in your life that you think are big are just nothing," Reeves said.

The couple’s neighbors, in an area where homes’ values exceed $300,000 and shootings are rare, also were deeply affected by the shooting, they said. The president of the Sunrise development’s homeowners association now is talking about installing gates that would prevent anyone but residents from entering, Reeves said.

"The police, our neighbors, everybody’s just been so awesome," she said. "It just is amazing. I can’t imagine this is something (the police) do every day. How do you get to practice this?"

Police now have two independent witnesses who saw a light brown, full-sized van fleeing the scene and almost collide with a passing motorcycle, said Becky Erk, police spokeswoman. Detectives are urging the motorcycle rider to call them and hope the rider might provide more details about the van and its occupants. One of the witnesses said the driver wore a baseball cap. He couldn’t tell if the driver’s sex or say if anyone else was inside.

Detectives ask anyone with information on the van or the shooting incidents to call Mill Creek Police at 425-337-1115.

You can call Herald Writer Cathy Logg at 425-339-3437or send e-mail to

logg@heraldnet.com.

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