Police officials investigate a shooting at Daleway Park in Lynnwood on April 4. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Police officials investigate a shooting at Daleway Park in Lynnwood on April 4. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Suspect arrested in fatal shooting of retired Lynnwood man

Carl Bridgmon, 70, was a bystander caught in a shooting at Daleway Park in Lynnwood. The suspected shooter was still at large.

LYNNWOOD — Detectives have arrested a suspect in the fatal shooting of an innocent bystander in a Lynnwood park.

Leif Smith, 21, of Marysville, was taken into custody Tuesday for investigation of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and two counts of felony assault.

Detectives believed Smith was the driver of a vehicle that fled the scene. A second person — the suspected shooter — remained at large Wednesday.

On the afternoon of April 5, police were called to reports of shots fired in Daleway Park at 19015 64th Ave. W in Lynnwood. Officers arrived to find Carl Bridgmon, 70, deceased in the driver’s seat of a black Chevrolet Impala in the parking lot. There were several bullet holes in the driver’s side door of the Impala.

Bridgmon frequented the small forested park near Highway 99 several times a week, according to a statement from his family. He liked to enjoy a cup of coffee there. Lynnwood police said he witnessed an argument between four people in the parking lot when shots were fired around 2:15 p.m.

After the shooting, witnesses reported they saw a black sedan drive away. Witnesses also reported they saw two men run from the park, west on 190th Street SW. Police found and questioned two young men, both 18.

The teens reported they drove to the park around 2 p.m. to buy cannabis from a person they contacted on Snapchat. They walked up to a black sedan with tinted windows in the parking lot, police wrote, and got into the car. A driver and a passenger were already in the car, the teenagers reported.

One of the teens reportedly asked to see the bag of cannabis to check its quality. An argument escalated, police wrote, and the driver and passenger began punching the two teens inside the car. The teens ran from the park. One of them reportedly heard loud pops and looked back to see the passenger holding a rifle and shooting at them from the car.

A Lynnwood detective searched Bridgman’s cellphone and found camera footage of the fight between the four men. The witness had “ultimately captured his own shooting and death,” a Lynnwood detective wrote.

The video showed the shooter emerged from the car and immediately began firing a rifle, striking Bridgmon and his car.

An anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound helped police to identify Smith as the driver of the black sedan, according to a police report filed Wednesday in Everett District Court.

The tipster reportedly told police Smith had been driving a Honda registered to his mother, and that the gun used in the shooting belonged to Smith. At the scene of the shooting, police found a dozen shell casings from a 7.62×39 mm rifle, a common form of ammunition for AK-47-style firearms.

A police investigation found Smith’s family members had at least three guns registered in their names at the time of the shooting, but none use bullets matching the caliber of the casings in the park.

Smith had also been issued a concealed pistol license last year. A Lynnwood detective pulled up his application for the license and called a cellphone number listed on it, police wrote. The detective reportedly identified himself as “Kevin” and said he worked at TRAX Transport Inc. He said he was doing taxes, police wrote, and told Smith they owed him back pay. Police felt confident they were talking with Smith because he corrected the pronunciation of his first name.

It’s not “Leaf,” it’s “Lay-f,” he said.

Smith reportedly confirmed he worked for the company in 2021 and provided a Marysville address to mail the money to. That address was the same one registered to the Honda, according to the police report.

The Honda had chrome detailing around the windows, chrome spokes and black rain guards, police wrote. It reportedly matched a car visible in security footage taken the day of the shooting near the scene of the crime.

During the investigation, police installed a tracking device on the Honda. A review of the GPS data collected revealed the car never returned to Lynnwood in the three weeks following the shooting, police wrote.

Detectives obtained a warrant to search Smith’s phone records. Cell tower data suggested he traveled from Marysville to Lynnwood just before the shooting, then left the area and headed to Arlington, a Lynnwood detective wrote.

Smith appeared via video call from the jail at a bail hearing Wednesday in Everett District Court, represented by defense attorney Peter Mazzone. Judge Tam Bui found probable cause for murder and set bail at $1 million. The suspect remained at the Snohomish County Jail.

Police were still seeking tips about the shooter, as well as any other information that could help the investigation. Tips can be directed to detective Jacqueline Arnett at 425-670-5669, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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

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