(WSB photo: KCSO officers outside house where murder suspect was arrested last Thursday)
Charges are now filed against 39-year-old Aaron Parypa, arrested by SWAT-geared King County Sheriff’s Officers last week at his Junction-area home in connection with a shooting death near Sea-Tac Airport. Parypa is charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault, for the death of Andrae Medina-Wong and the attempted shooting of a second man in what detectives say started as an attempted marijuana sale. Parypa remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, requested by prosecutors because while he has no criminal history, they allege he “shot at both victims from a moving car in broad daylight during rush-hour traffic … (firing) at least seven times with a high-powered assault rifle.” The shooting made regional news on October 29th because of its proximity to the airport; Medina-Wong was found dead by a car in an intersection just north of Sea-Tac. Another man found hiding in the woods nearby turned out to have been with him. According to court documents, that man told police he and Medina-Wong had used Craigslist to try to buy marijuana, and had obtained – possibly stolen – some, in a glass mason jar, from a prospective seller they arranged to meet in the shopping-center parking lot on the northeast corner of 1st and 160th in Burien.
A vehicle believed to belong to that person subsequently pursued them, the survivor told investigators, and caught up with them at the intersection near Sea-Tac, where he saw a gun barrel pointing at them from the other vehicle. He got out of the car, carrying the mason jar of marijuana, and started running, at which time he heard gunshots. Medina-Wong was later found to have been hit by .223-caliber bullets in the head and heart. The other man was not hit.
The documents tell a detailed story of how detectives identified Parypa as the suspect, including phone and Internet records:
It started with video from a Metro bus and businesses near the intersection where the shooting happened, and continued with cellphone and Internet records obtained via search warrants. Those records included dozens of marijuana-related Craisglist searches by Medina-Wong. A detective discovered: “… of the 26 specific ads that Medina-Wong viewed on October 29th, only a single advertisement had since been marked ‘This posting has been deleted by its author'” – an ad “titled ‘Connoisseur Courier’ and … listed as being in the Seattle geographical area.” It had been viewed less than an hour and a half after Medina-Wong was killed; it was deleted four minutes after the shooting.
On November 16th – almost three weeks after the shooting – detectives received information about the person who had posted the “Connoisseur Courier” ad; that included a phone number that an online search revealed Aaron Parypa had been associated with since at least 2013. Further corroborating evidence, according to the court documents, included the ad’s message that what was for sale was marijuana “stored in glass.” Driver’s license and vehicle records gave detectives further information matching descriptions for Parypa and a vehicle he owned to descriptive information offered by the man who had been with the victim. On November 20th, yet another search warrant brought in information about the IP address for the Craigslist ad, which matched a Comcast account in Parypa’s name, at his Junction-area house. And a week later, they obtained AT&T records showing the phone number had been his since 2007. While his account showed a report on November 3rd that he had lost his phone on October 29th – the day of the shooting – detectives wrote that seemed to be a false report, as call records show it was used since October 29th for many of the same numbers called before that date, including calls to at least one family member. Other records place his phone in the area of the shooting, at the time of the shooting, according to the charging documents. And they found records tying the victim’s phone to a phone number that had called Parypa’s phone the day of the shooting.
Moving ahead to the arrest last Thursday (December 3rd), the documents say Parypa was taken into custody as he returned to his house. Investigators say he agreed to be interviewed, so they took him downtown. When they first made contact with him, they asked, “Are you here to talk to me about my stolen car?”, referring to what court documents describe as “a 1986 Toyota pickup that he owns and that was stolen from his residence on or about October 14th, 2015).”
(Editor’s note: We realized while reading the documents as we wrote this story, that we received and published a West Seattle Crime Watch reader report in mid-October from “Aaron,” reporting the theft of a 1986 Toyota pickup.)
Back to the court documents: Detectives say Parypa “commented on how he had been the victim of multiple thefts over the past several years, stating ‘people who steal make me angry’. This was a recurring theme of the conversation during the approximately 15-minute drive.” During the subsequent interview, after he was read his Miranda rights, detectives say he told them he buys and sells automobiles to make a living, “finding and selling many of these vehicles via (Craigslist).” Later in the conversation, according to court documents, he “eventually admitted to having been involved in selling medical marijuana in the past via (Craigslist) and that he was experienced in growing and selling marijuana. He also stated, when asked, that ‘glass jars’ were the best method of storage after having harvested a plant, and described using mason jars,” some of which they say they found in his home during a search on the day of the arrest. He is reported to have told them he stopped selling marijuana “about one month ago” …
… because he needed a ‘change in his life,’ that he had been ‘running into strange people,’ that ‘it became too much to deal with’ and ‘there were too many crazy people, thieves, running around.’
But they say he denied ever having been the victim of theft or robbery via a CL ad. And when they started asking him about the lost/not-lost phone, that’s when, the documents say, he “declined to be interviewed further.” He remains in the King County Jail, with arraignment set for December 17th.