EVERETT — Before Jeff Phebus, 59, was suspected of shooting and killing his estranged wife in Everett on Friday, the couple once ran a secondhand shop in Arlington called Lil’ Thrift.
In 2014, the business had been successful enough for them to move to a bigger space across from City Hall, according to an Arlington Times article published that year. And Jeff Phebus became a board member, then president, of the Downtown Arlington Business Association.
“Our goal is to supply folks with both their usual needs and their unusual wants,” Jeff Phebus had told the Times.
Since then, their store has apparently closed, and the two separated after a decade of marriage. Before Rebecca Phebus died, she had been staying at a place on Camano Island and working at Achilles, a Japanese plastics manufacturing company with a U.S. headquarters in south Everett. She was 57.
The woman had recently been under the assumption that her estranged husband had moved back to Florida, according to court papers.
Around 8 a.m. Friday, wearing a company jacket to disguise himself, Jeff Phebus walked into the maintenance building where she worked, according to new documents filed in Snohomish County Superior Court.
He grabbed Rebecca Phebus by the hair and neck and pointed a gun at her, court papers say.
She screamed for help. Witnesses told police that he pulled the trigger.
She died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Jeff Phebus reportedly took off in a red 2005 Chevrolet Corvette. Later that morning, he exchanged gunfire with police behind a Safeway near downtown Everett, before he was subdued with non-lethal rounds.
The confrontation is being investigated by the Snohomish County Multi-Agency Response Team, a group of detectives assigned to cases in which police have used potentially fatal force.
Six Everett officers and one Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant were involved in the arrest, according to SMART.
Probable cause was found in court Sunday to detain Jeff Phebus on suspicion of first-degree murder. His bail was set at $1 million.
He was being treated at the hospital Tuesday and was unable to make an initial court appearance.
He also is being investigated for unlawful possession of a firearm and for violating a protection order. In January, he sent vague, threatening texts to Rebecca Phebus, according to an Island County sheriff’s deputy. And a week later, he suggested to a 911 dispatcher a “suicide by cop” scenario, in which he would confront his stepson, a police officer, with a gun, according to an arrest warrant.