Police: Marysville shooter killed friend in confrontation at his car

Prescription drug use made Khoa Nguyen, 36, unpredictable, an acquaintance told police. Nguyen was held on $1 million bail.

Marysville

MARYSVILLE — Police say a Granite Falls man killed his longtime friend in Marysville on Monday night after previously trying to steal from the victim.

About a month ago, Khoa Nguyen, 36, came to the Hallmark House Apartments on 47th Avenue NE, according to Marysville detective Wade Rediger’s report. Nguyen’s friend reportedly let him into the apartment because Nguyen said he needed to lay low after just shooting someone. A witness told investigators she believed Nguyen bought drugs from the friend.

The friend, a 37-year-old man, saw Nguyen loading the friend’s electric bike into his red Honda Pilot, a witness told investigators. The friend confronted Nguyen, who also put other items into the SUV as he apparently tried to steal them, according to Rediger’s report. The friend was upset.

He and Nguyen reportedly hadn’t talked since.

Around 9:40 p.m. Monday night, Nguyen came back to the Hallmark House Apartments in his Pilot, according to police. The friend told his girlfriend he wasn’t going to answer the door. He didn’t want to deal with Nguyen again.

But after realizing he left his phone in his car, the man walked to the parking lot to retrieve it. While there, he told Nguyen to leave, Rediger wrote in his report. The girlfriend reported hearing a physical fight between the two men.

When the man got back to his apartment, he reportedly told his girlfriend he was going back outside so Nguyen could show him something.

Surveillance footage shows the man approach the Honda Pilot with one person inside, according to the detective’s report. He reportedly talks with Nguyen through the window when two flashes appear on the video. The man falls back. The gunman gets out of the car, walks over to the man and runs back to the driver’s side before fleeing.

Hearing the gunshots, the girlfriend called out for her boyfriend. She went outside and found him on the ground. She called 911 to report the shooting, according to the police report.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the victim had not been publicly identified.

An acquaintance reported to police that prescription drug use has made Nguyen unpredictable. The acquaintance didn’t know if he owned any guns, but his friend had a handgun he could get, court papers say.

The victim’s girlfriend reportedly told investigators Nguyen lived off Highway 92 in Granite Falls.

In the early morning hours Thursday, authorities swarmed Nguyen’s property in the 8600 block of Highway 92. The red Honda Pilot was in a carport under a tarp, according to police.

Investigators were able to identify Nguyen because he responded to his name. He asked to speak to his parents. Ten minutes later, he told law enforcement he needed 20 more minutes before surrendering. Nguyen reported he needed to charge his cellphone, while holding a gun to his head, police alleged.

A couple hours later, Nguyen surrendered to a SWAT team. Police arrested him for investigation of second-degree murder and unlawful firearm possession.

Detectives found a bullet casing for a 9 mm round in the Pilot’s passenger seat. The casing matched a loaded gun Nguyen had, according to Rediger’s report.

In 2009, Nguyen was convicted in Snohomish County Superior Court of taking a motor vehicle without permission, a felony. That conviction barred him from owning guns. In 2020, he was convicted of unlawful firearm possession. Judge Edirin Okoloko sentenced him to five days in jail.

Nguyen did not appear at a planned court hearing Wednesday. Still, at the hearing, Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui found probable cause for second-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. Bui set bail at $1 million. If Nguyen posts bail, he will be required to get a mental health screening, the judge ruled.

The defendant was scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Michael Henneke: 425-339-3431; michael.henneke@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @ihenpecked.

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