CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: 88-year-old charged in deadly bus shooting, 5 years after his arrest in another shooting; police seeking ERPO

(1/26/2019 SDOT cam framegrab showing investigation scene)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 10:12 AM: A reader asked what ever happened in the case of the deadly shooting aboard a C Line bus while it was stopped in SODO two weeks ago. We found that the victim had been identified – 51-year-old Ronnie Tyler – but the status of the 88-year-old man accused of shooting him hadn’t been reported. So we checked with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and discovered that they have filed a charge of first-degree manslaughter, with use of a deadly weapon, against Roger Mize. Here’s what the court documents allege happened:

… (At 11:12 am Saturday, January 26) suspect Roger Mize and victim Ronnie Tyler boarded a northbound King County Metro bus at 4th Ave. S. and S. Walker … The bus was equipped with multiple video cameras. A review of the video recording shows the following:

Suspect Mize boarded the bus first, while victim Tyler was behind him. Tyler stood behind Mize, and began to walk up the stairs of the bus to board, as Mize put money into the pay box. Mize then proceeded to walk back past the driver, as Tyler stood behind him. Mize continued to walk toward the seating area, and was approximately three feet or so past the driver’s seat. At that point, Tyler attempted to move around, to the right of Mize.

As Tyler moved past Mize, Mize pushed Tyler with his right hand and stated “get away from me, you dumb m—– f—–.” Tyler turned his attention to Mize, as Mize began to back up toward the front of the bus. Tyler replied to Mize, “What’d you call me?” Tyler started to nudge and push Mize backward with his left forearm. As that was happening, Mize turned his back to Tyler while he reached inside his front left jacket pocket and retrieved his pistol. Tyler then gave Mize a harder push, which jolted Mize forward and toward the front steps of the bus. It should be noted that this occurred simultaneous to the bus moving forward. Mize did not fall or lose his footing, but stumbled forward. Mize turned around and faced Tyler and then there was an approximate 2- to 3-second pause where both men simply stared at each other.

Without further provocation from Tyler and without warning, Mize forcefully struck Tyler twice in the face and head with the pistol (pistol whipped). The bus stopped at this point and the bus driver attempted to verbally stop the altercation. After absorbing the second blow by Mize, Tyler began to reach toward Mize, in what appears to be an attempt to stop him from hitting him. At that time, Mize delivers a third blow with his pistol to Tyler’s face/head. After the third strike, Mize fired his pistol, striking Tyler in the lower right abdomen. Tyler continued toward Mize, and pushed him out of the front doors of the bus. As Mize fell backward out of the bus, he fired a second shot (a fired bullet was later recovered by police from the pay box of the bus). Tyler collapsed onto the stairs of the bus and onto the ground.

Tyler died at Harborview Medical Center, which is also where Mize was taken. Detectives interviewed him there the next day. The court documents say he alleged that the victim had been hostile toward someone else at the bus stop, and that once they clashed on the bus, he felt he had to shoot Tyler because he was much younger and bigger. After that, the court document notes that Mize was arrested in another shooting incident five years ago in which he shot another man in the abdomen after some kind of altercation. No charges were filed because of a lack of witnesses and “objective evidence”; the man he shot survived. (We found this Seattle Times report about the case.) As for this case, Mize is scheduled to be arraigned on February 14th; as of the filing earlier this week, he was described as “receiving inpatient rehabilitation services at a care facility”; prosecutors wrote that they were not requesting bail “(g)iven the defendant’s current physical condition and his age.”

7:46 PM: Since publishing the story this morning, we’ve learned that Seattle Police are seeking an Extreme Risk Protection Order to temporarily prevent Mize from possessing guns. (ERPOs were explained at last month’s West Seattle Crime Prevention Council meeting.) In the document seeking the order, police say he has a valid concealed-pistol license and at least one gun, a .38-caliber revolver bought last April. Besides the two cases mentioned above, they say that he was arrested in Everett – where he lives, according to what’s listed as his “last known address” – for pulling a gun on a man last November. A temporary ERPO was granted at a hearing this week and a permanent one will be considered at a hearing later this month.

25 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: 88-year-old charged in deadly bus shooting, 5 years after his arrest in another shooting; police seeking ERPO"

  • newnative February 8, 2019 (10:17 am)

    Wow, that bus driver was barely missed. 

  • HelperMonkey February 8, 2019 (10:40 am)

    Great, an 88 year old rage monster with a gun – and a history with that gun. He never should have been allowed to carry in the first place after the first shooting. So glad the bus driver didn’t end up shot as well.  He should NOT be awarded bail. He’s a danger to the community. 

  • anonyme February 8, 2019 (10:55 am)

    Just goes to show that jerks don’t improve with age.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any laws that keep guns out of the hands of idiots.

  • Jim P. February 8, 2019 (12:08 pm)

    ” Tyler stood behind Mize, and began to walk up the stairs of the bus to board,”Buses on the C line do not have stairs, Very few Seattle buses do.  Something odd here.”He should NOT be awarded bail. He’s a danger to the community. “I believe the article means he is in effect being let out on recognizance  since he is in what I presume to be a mental ward or similar, the article is pretty vague on just what sort of facility.

    • WSB February 8, 2019 (12:11 pm)

      Sorry to be ‘vague’ but that’s the entirety of the information available, exactly as it was worded in the documents I obtained. – TR

      • Bob Figuero February 9, 2019 (9:08 am)

        So you ASK, snarkmonster.

        • WSB February 9, 2019 (9:10 am)

          There is no one to ask at 7:40 pm. But thanks for the suggestion.

    • CAM February 8, 2019 (1:11 pm)

      Metro has been swapping in older articulated and non articulated buses on the C line during busy periods. I wouldn’t be surprised if the bus was one of the older models with stairs just filling in. 

    • WiseWoman February 9, 2019 (12:42 am)

      When Metro adds routes as in when 99 Viaduct shut down, some commuter routes for rapid rides red top buses are filled in with green top buses which are older versions same as 7 bus that goes to south rainier avenue

    • Eric Hutcheson February 9, 2019 (11:42 am)

      He’s probably at a nursing home or some sort of rehab facility recovering from any injuries he received when he fell.

  • carole February 8, 2019 (12:30 pm)

    The original story said Mize broke his hip when he fell. 88 with broken hip. He’s not going anywhere for awhile.  While C busses don’t have “steps” there is the one level up to step into the bus. Having read many police reports in my former job, I would assume the innocent discrepancy lies with the officer who wrote the report, not with some suspicious or intentional  misstatement of fact.

  • DB Coop February 8, 2019 (12:50 pm)

    I bet Mr. Mize thought he was a “Good Guy” with a gun. Funny how quick they can turn into bad guys with guns, isn’t it? I hope he spends the rest of his life in prison to think about what he did. 

    • Terre February 8, 2019 (1:57 pm)

      I hope it’s the rest of his life in prison, too. Sounds like an awful person, just looking for a fight. I don’t get the manslaughter charge–I guess because it was not premeditated? I agree he shouldn’t have been able to get a gun. 

  • Howard February 8, 2019 (1:12 pm)

    Check you ego at the door. Defend, escape, evade. 

  • JAFO February 8, 2019 (6:37 pm)

    A good reminder to take a deep breath and choose the high road when someone offends you (curses at you, flips you off in traffic, etc.). If you choose to escalate, you may end up in a dangerous situation. In this case, it seems the 51 year old man could have let the 88 year old man find a seat before pushing past him, and certainly should have ignored the man calling him a pejorative term rather than push him multiple times. Not defending the shooting by any means, but escalation often brings unintended consequences. I’m 50 myself and, whether the person is grumpy or not, I would never dream of putting hands on an 88 year old for something they may have said to me, no matter how offensive it may have been. If I reacted the way the 51 year old did every time some homeless and/or mentally ill person uttered a curse word at me downtown, I would be in confrontations several times a week. Walk away, it’s just hot air. A sad situation all around and a strong reminder of why I avoid riding the bus unless there is no other option.

    • Eric Hutcheson February 9, 2019 (11:48 am)

      Well said! The desire to get the last word in or respond to someone giving you the bird when they were the one in the wrong isn’t worth your life.

      • dave February 9, 2019 (1:32 pm)

        If nobody stands up to thuggish behavior it will continue to get more widespread frequent and out of control both in regard to individual thugs, of any age or ethnicity, and collectively.  Obviously the guy who died turned out to have made the wrong call but there is a problem no matter what you do.

  • WSB February 8, 2019 (7:13 pm)

    To the point of whether the defendant should have had a gun – he has no felony record that I have found, so I don’t know what could have prevented that, but I did just find, making a routine check of new cases, that SPD is seeking an “extreme risk protection order” against him – which would affect, temporarily, his right to be armed – I will update the story after further checking into the files to see if details are available – TR

  • Mike February 8, 2019 (7:53 pm)

    Wow, reading the details is disturbing.  Too many people with trigger happy fingers and not enough sense.

  • AIDM February 10, 2019 (9:44 am)

    WSB, would you be able to obtain the video of this with an FOA request? Or is it already available elsewhere? Parents of kids riding C line would be interested to see this first hand.

  • I. Ponder February 26, 2019 (1:51 pm)

    Thank you WSB for covering this story!! Don’t underestimate the elderly. It’s a form of profiling to assume a person is harmless because of their age or physical condition. I wonder if the victim was a West Seattle resident and has family here.

  • Mama busdriver February 27, 2019 (2:13 am)

    So, a thug with a gun gets to do whatever he wants because he’s old? Really? Forget his age, take his gun away,  throw his wrinkled butt in jail, and let him rot!He knows EXACTLY what he’s doing,  probably wants to take out as many people as Seattle will let him.. Put him in gen pop, no special treatment.  He’s killing for the power it gives him – c’mon, pistol whipping? That took strength! This guy’s no helpless old fart!

    • WSB February 27, 2019 (6:10 am)

      He actually is in “gen pop” as of yesterday, according to the jail register, and the temporary ERPO has been renewed. I hope to publish a followup after a bit more research.

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