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.