Police: Downtown Everett murder suspect was already in jail

Max Dwyer is accused of shooting and killing Jerome Burnett last November, outside a Silvertips game.


EVERETT — It took authorities six months to identify a suspect in a fatal shooting in downtown Everett.

Max Dwyer, 21, was in custody Wednesday for charges on separate violent felony crimes after detectives found probable cause he fired the gun that killed Jerome Burnett, 48, back in November 2021.

On the night of Nov. 27, just as fans were leaving a Saturday night Everett Silvertips hockey game at Angel of the Winds Arena, officers heard what they believed to be three gunshots and a man screaming near the 2700 block of Rockefeller Avenue, according to a police report. They then saw a man walk around the corner from California Street, holding a stick.

Burnett approached the officers and yelled he’d been shot. The officers ordered him to drop the stick. He dropped it, then collapsed to the ground. Burnett was transported to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, where he died of his wounds.

A witness told police he’d been confronted by a man wearing a gray ski mask in the 1700 block of California Street just before the shooting. The man told him to get off the street, the witness reported, and when he refused, the man brandished a handgun.

At the scene, police found three 9 mm cartridge casings, a small flashlight and a plastic knife, according to the report.

Police secured the area, keeping people from leaving the hockey game just a few blocks away, but couldn’t find the suspect.

In the following months, detectives reviewed security footage from nearby businesses, public transit and a home in an attempt to identify a suspect and track their path to and from the scene. Before and after the shooting, videos showed a man in the area matching the witness’s description, but there was no surveillance footage of the shooting itself, police wrote.

Evidence collected at the scene was sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for DNA testing. Samples collected from the flashlight had a mixture of DNA “consistent with originating from three individuals,” police wrote.

A forensic scientist submitted the DNA to an FBI-run database. There was a hit in January.

Dwyer was reportedly determined to be a “possible contributor” to the profile.

The physical description on Dwyer’s driver’s license was “extremely similar” to the one provided by the witness, police wrote, minus a discrepancy in eye color.

A detective ran a background check on Dwyer and found he’d been arrested in late 2021 and later charged with second-degree assault, taking a motor vehicle without permission in the second degree and attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle.

On Dec. 22, 2021, Dwyer had allegedly pointed a gun at his father and drove off in an RV. As he fled sheriff’s deputies, driving slowly and weaving between two lanes, he crashed into a ditch, according to court papers. He allegedly continued to disobey commands and tried to flee again. Sheriff’s deputies reported they fired pepper balls at him and arrested him in a nearby grassy field.

Deputies searched Dwyer and reportedly found a 9 mm Glock pistol and a large plastic bag of ammo.

After the December arrest, Dwyer was booked into the Snohomish County Jail with bail set at $150,000.

On Wednesday, District Court Judge Anthony Howard raised Dwyer’s bail by $1 million and found probable cause for second-degree murder.

He was behind bars Wednesday afternoon.

Ellen Dennis: 425-339-3486; edennis@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @reporterellen.

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