EDMONDS — The party at the Edmonds Senior Center was supposed to end at midnight.
Edmonds police were getting noise complaints and had already visited twice Friday evening, according to a police report. Officers told the group of more than 100 people that they would need to pack up and leave when the clock struck 12.
Instead, the party ended 14 minutes early, when about seven gunshots rang out. A crowd of people flooded out of the building. A 23-year-old man from SeaTac was left lying on the ground, a bullet wound in his chest. He died at the scene.
An officer who was monitoring the party from outside saw two men and a woman running out of the building right after the shots were fired. One of the men, 21, appeared to be stuffing something, possibly a gun, into his waistband, court papers say.
The trio reportedly ignored the officer’s demands to stop and took off in a car. The man in the back seat later was identified as the suspected shooter.
The driver allegedly was going 85 mph in a 35 mph zone while ignoring police lights and sirens.
Officers stopped the car nearly two miles later, around the intersection 0f 100th Avenue W. and Highway 104.
The suspects told police they ran away because they heard gunshots, documents show. The suspected shooter said he was outside, getting a drink from his car at the time of the gunfire. Police didn’t find any weapons.
Officers brought witnesses to try and confirm if those detained were involved.
One of them, who was related to the victim, said he had no doubt who the gunman was, according to the report.
“One hundred percent, that’s him,” he said.
The man accused of firing the shots was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of second-degree murder. His bail was set Monday at $1 million.
At his court hearing on Monday, public defender Natalie Tarantino said the arrest was based on flimsy proof.
“(There’s) no weapon, no evidence, nothing linking the suspect to the crime,” she said.
The driver also was arrested on suspicion of attempting to elude police. His bail was set at $10,000.
The woman in the car was not booked. She attended the bail hearing.
“We were scared. We were just trying to get away from the bullets,” she told the judge. “That explains why we were trying to go as fast as we could.”
The senior center posted on Facebook that the space was rented out to a private party that night.
The available records do not describe a potential motive.
As of Monday afternoon, the victim’s name had not been made public.