FOLLOWUP: Charges filed in Alki alley shooting

(Sunday’s arrest scene – WSB photo by Patrick Sand)

Three days after a man was shot while driving in an Alki alley, the suspect arrested shortly afterward is charged. The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged 35-year-old Garrett R. Heinemann with first-degree assault and first-degree burglary. The charging documents confirm that the victim is a neighbor of the suspect, in the same block of 60th SW where the shooting happened; the victim moved to Alki, from California, just two weeks ago. He told police he had never seen Heinemann before the shooting, which happened shortly after he left his apartment to drive somewhere to get coffee. He told police the suspect stepped out in front of his car in the alley, stopped him, and then told him to put his hands up, so the victim thought it was a robbery – but without saying anything else, he said, the suspect opened fire. Police say five bullets were fired into the victim’s front windshield, and six into the rear passenger-side window; 10 casings were found around his car.

(SPD photo, Sunday)

Minutes after the shooting, the charging documents say, Heinemann walked into a nearby apartment and attacked one of the two people who were inside; they managed to escape, and he fled out a window. The documents don’t have any information about a possible motive, noting that Heinemann refused to talk with detectives. As we previously reported, and as is noted in the charging documents, he has no criminal history. The charging documents say the gun Heinemann is accused of using, a .40-caliber pistol found at Alki Beach Park, is one that he has owned for eight years, and that he has a concealed-weapons permit. He remains in King County Jail, bail set at half a million dollars. Harborview Medical Center told us Tuesday that the victim had improved to satisfactory condition, though the charging documents note he faces additional surgery.

65 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Charges filed in Alki alley shooting"

  • newnative December 2, 2020 (5:41 pm)

    well, that’s a fine welcome to the neighborhood. Poor guy, I hope he makes a full recovery. 

  • ACG December 2, 2020 (5:50 pm)

    That’s terrifying. Hoping the victim and the others who were attacked will be ok. 

  • kim December 2, 2020 (6:22 pm)

    Oh, this poor victim!  This is so awful–what can we do?  Unprecedented. I’m hoping someone here knows this (new) neighbor. I’m sure he’d like to return to CA, ASAP.  I’m just shocked, and I’d love to do something…shocked. It could happen anywhere, but it happened here.

    • Evie December 4, 2020 (12:35 am)

      I am the wife of the victim. We have two small children. I found out that Alek was in the hospital because the hospital called me. The police never called me and they only returned my calls on Wednesday. We are Canadians, we are not from California. So no, we don’t want to return to California.

      • WSB December 4, 2020 (12:53 am)

        I am sorry for the error. It was from the probable-cause document (written by police): “(Victim’s initials) stated that he moved into an apartment at (address) 60th Ave SW, Seattle, on the 15th of November and had previously lived in California.”

      • Seattlemander December 4, 2020 (11:12 am)

        I’m guessing that the part about you moving here two weeks ago is also incorrect? Not a lot of movement across the Canadian Border these days.So sorry for this ordeal!

      • Reality Chick December 4, 2020 (5:37 pm)

        We are so very sorry this happened to your loved one and your family. This is a caring neighborhood, one we have loved in for a long time. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know. If it’s easier, I know the WSB would be a place for you to let us know. Again, so very sorry.  And same goes to the couple who were harmed in their home.  

  • Al King December 2, 2020 (6:43 pm)

    WSB. If a picture of the shooter comes up please post. If you’re able can you give the address the shooter lived at. The shot up car was in front of my building(YIKES!!!)but the shooter and victim did not live in my building.

    • WSB December 2, 2020 (7:15 pm)

      You can’t see the photo above?

    • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy December 2, 2020 (8:01 pm)

      Suspect appears to be the second from the right in the photo with several cops. 

    • Alki neighbor. December 2, 2020 (9:11 pm)

      He lived in the green apartment building. 

      • Alki neighbor December 3, 2020 (8:58 am)

        I don’t think we need to disclose where he lived to be respectful to his loved ones.

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy December 2, 2020 (7:14 pm)

    Someone with his same last name as the accused (with a Garrett listed as a sibling or cousin in the obituary) passed away earlier this year.  If it’s the same family that family is having an especially bad year :/

    • Neighbor December 2, 2020 (7:56 pm)

      It is the same family. They’ve had a very terrible year. 

      • sadcitizen December 3, 2020 (1:29 pm)

        This appears to be the obituary for his brother that passed earlier this year; what a beautiful remembrance and heart wrenching loss:’m so terribly sad for the victim who was shot just getting coffee, and the neighborhood for the fear this brings. I’m also for the suspect because it appears he’s suffered a terrible loss. As a mom of two young boys, I can’t imagine what this family has gone through especially in the midst of a pandemic – losing a son, brother, father of two. There’s no excuse for the suspect’s violence but I hope he’s able to find the help he needs and get some sort of peace for himself and his family. Sad for all involved, this is such a hard time. 

        • LR December 3, 2020 (4:45 pm)

          “Im also for the suspect because he’s suffered a terrible loss’.  Thousands of people experience the loss of loved ones daily and dont try to kill random people

          • sadcitizen December 3, 2020 (9:35 pm)

            I agree with your statement, but also believe I can feel for the guy. He’s a human and while showed a great deal of violence and evil, he’s still a human and someone’s son, brother, friend. I can feel sad for him and all involved. 

        • Friend December 4, 2020 (5:14 pm)

          I knew the suspect when he was younger and growing up. He has a lovely “normal” family and I am sad all around for the loss of their oldest son/brother earlier in 2020. Something must have snapped with Garrett because this is not the same kid that grew up with mine. This is very out of character for him. I pray the victim survives without permanent damage and I hope Garret gets the help he needs. Prayers for everyone involved. 

          • Together we heal December 6, 2020 (4:38 pm)

            G being involved in this situation is about as unbelievable as it would be for Santa to do this. No less responsible, however, a man didn’t do this in his right mind. People everywhere are suffering. I never understood situations like this, but w/G being involved, I see it from both sides. G is one of the most kind and gentle men I know.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees December 2, 2020 (7:56 pm)

    Only first degree assault for spontaneously shooting an innocent stranger 11 times at close range with a large-caliber handgun? The victim nearly died on the scene and is only alive because of SPD’s immediate response/first aid and ICU care. He should be charged with attempted first degree murder.

    • CAM December 2, 2020 (8:39 pm)

      I’m not trying to be snarky, but in order to make a charge like that work you’d need to prove that his intent was to murder the victim. Without a statement from him or from another witness indicating he expressed that specific intent that gets to be more challenging. The prosecutor can always file more serious charges in the future should they have more evidence that supports that. But, it may not seem logical, but merely shooting someone numerous times does not imply that a person intended murder. It implies a reckless disregard for whether or not they lived but not that they were definitely aiming the person die. 

      • StopCuttingDownTrees December 2, 2020 (11:26 pm)

        A reasonable person (or jury) would assume that shooting someone 11 times at close range with handgun cartridges that produce over 400 lb/ft of muzzle energy is attempted murder. I understand the complexities of charging uncooperative and hostile suspects, but this person should never be set free.

        • CAM December 3, 2020 (9:11 am)

          At present you are not behaving as a reasonable juror but are instead convicting after hearing only the prosecutor’s evidence. You haven’t even allowed the defense to begin to present a defense. Juror questionnaires and voir dire are intended to weed out jurors with that style of thinking. 

          • StopCuttingDownTrees December 3, 2020 (11:37 am)

            The suspect has ZERO excuse for shooting the victim 11 times unless the victim was intending to shoot him or run him down with his car. I’m confident that the hot cup of coffee the victim was returning home with posed no threat to the suspect. His violent antics after the initial attack, such as burglarizing and apartment, assaulting the occupant(s), and burying the weapon on the beach are not typical of self defense

    • NotALaywer December 2, 2020 (8:40 pm)

      First degree assault is still a Class A felony, which is a big deal.  Because there is no clear motive here, it’s likely the prosecutor would have trouble proving to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant planned to kill someone (read: premeditated).  The prosecution is more likely to be successful getting this charge to stick given the circumstances.  I personally would rather see this person behind bars for many years than walking free because the prosecution aimed too high.

      • Person December 3, 2020 (12:47 pm)

        “First Degree Assault” IS Washington state’s “Attempted Murder” charge. If you do some research online you would read that “Attempted Murder” was changed in language only to: “1st Degree Assault” a few years back.  

    • December 2, 2020 (9:19 pm) first degree murder is not in RCW. 

    • wscommuter December 3, 2020 (12:00 pm)

      Two points … first of all, Assault 1 is a “serious, violent” class A felony – in the same league with Murder 1 – very similar punishment range.  Second, this is charging now – KCPO may later amend the charge to allege a different offense, which could include Attempted Murder 1 or 2.  But the completed act of shooting someone is “grievous bodily harm” which constitutes Assault 1.  Even on that charge, and adding the deadly weapon enhancement, this knucklehead is facing 15+ years at a minimum.  Understand that “attempt” in WA reduces the standard range for an offense by 25%.  I haven’t looked it up, but he may face more time on A1 than on Att M1 or 2.  Also, the entry into the other apartment was either Residential Burglary or Burglary 1 – either of which would stand apart from the serious violent felony for consecutive time to add to his sentence + another deadly weapon enhancement which would also run consecutively.  

      • Perdon2 December 3, 2020 (12:51 pm)

        There is no attempted Murder charges in WA. It had been changed in language only years ago to Assault in 1st degree. Read 

        • NotALawyerJustCurious December 3, 2020 (1:59 pm)

          Really? Is this RCW no longer in use? See 3(a). Is that not a clear definition of a Class A felony for attempted first degree homicide? Any actual lawyers able to clear this up definitively?

          • AlsoNotALawyer December 5, 2020 (8:25 pm)

            The mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines are here: goes from 20 years for murder 1, to 5 years for assault 1 using force or means likely to result in death.  I think there’s also a Felony A firearms addition that could be tacked on for another 5 years.This is likely because murder is easy to show since there’s a dead body.  While attempted murder is difficult to show because it requires proving “intent” and state of mind.  The defense could claim the person was delusional and thought that the victim was lizard people out to get him and in his state of mind he was defending himself.  Assault 1 likely to result in death using a firearm is something that can easily be proven by the presence of the victim with gunshot wounds.So you’re getting 10 years to life here, which is a rung down from Murder 1, and with a charge that is substantially easier to prove than attempted murder.The sentencing guidelines don’t mention attempted murder much, which probably reflects the difficulty in getting that conviction.There’s also a somewhat out of date charging manual here: adult sentencing manual here: aren’t a lot of guidelines for attempted murder in those.

  • Al King December 2, 2020 (9:10 pm)

    WSB. I see, but can’t really tell from the angle.

    • 2 Much Whine December 3, 2020 (8:54 am)

      There are three officers wearing masks that are also wearing uniforms that say POLICE on them.  They are the police.  There is one guy with a beard and camo pants that appears to be being handcuffed or otherwise detained.  That is the suspect. 

      • AMD December 3, 2020 (10:24 am)

        Two of the three officers are wearing masks (since we’re talking about how clear the photo is).  The suspect and the officer bending over are not.  On the main topic, I hope the victim continues to improve and makes a full recovery.  From the little bit that’s been stated, this sounds like the shooter may have been having a mental health crisis.  It will be interesting to see how things shape up as more information comes out.  Sad story for all involved.  

  • Elton December 2, 2020 (10:53 pm)

    And if this incident wasn’t terrible enough – it looks like it was quite close to two popular Alki area children’s playgrounds.

  • Guy December 3, 2020 (12:05 am)

    I hope his parents don’t post his bail/lose $50k

  • AlkiMel December 3, 2020 (3:14 am)

    Wow absolutely terrifying… I live on that same  60th Ave block and drive down that alley everyday… to think this was a random crazed shooting that it could have very well been me or my husband that had been shot at… My heart goes out to the victim, our neighborhood, and the families of the victim and suspect. Hope Garrett rots in jail for a very very long time and gets the mental help he clearly needs.

  • Alki Resident December 3, 2020 (3:42 am)

    This is scary. As a former Californian who moved to WA over a decade ago, I was advised many years ago to change out my CA plates ASAP due to the pervasive view in some parts of WA that CA folks are ruining “their” state. It wasn’t uncommon to have your car scratched if you had CA plates. Wonder if that was the motive here. In any case, seems like a not so mentally healthy or bright individual. Hope the victim recovers fully and quickly.

  • Jennie December 3, 2020 (7:02 am)

    I think he may have lost his brother earlier this year.

  • DBurns December 3, 2020 (7:35 am)

    Mental illness can increase or even develop with isolation. I had an incident with a neighbor this week that did not involve a weapon but was terrifying as well. I am frightened that we are just starting to see this result of this very isolated year. Best of luck to the victim and the family of the suspect. Tough times ahead for all. 

  • Lola December 3, 2020 (7:49 am)

    Do we know how long the Suspect has lived down at Alki?  Does anybody know him or know if he has done something like this or threatened people before?  Scary for this to happen.  I hope they don’t just release him.  He needs mental help that is for sure. 

    • WSB December 3, 2020 (3:10 pm)

      As noted in all of our reports, he has no criminal record. No arrests or convictions.

    • Paula December 4, 2020 (11:00 am)

      Hi Lola, I knew the family when he was growing up. They are a wonderful, supportive & loving family, they invested their time in their boys & supported their intellectual & athletic talents. This is so sad in so many ways….I hope people can be kind in their assumptions & words. The family, which I just found out lost a son in May 2020, being a mom & caring about others I couldn’t imagine what the family is going through. 

  • John W December 3, 2020 (9:04 am)

    Dear WSB commenters,
    All this discussion over a shooting by a person who appears to be in disorder with no mention of our deplorable mental health services or worse yet the true elephant in Alki – the availability of firearms and in this case concealed weapons permit. 
    For those who complain about his family supporting him,  who else and why shouldn’t they (and all of us) act compassionate when one of our tribe goes off in what appears to be a  tragic but random act of a person in distress, armed and out of their mind?
    The two guilty parties here appear to be;
    1) Our insane uniquely American gun fetish.
    2) Our equally insane approach to mental health.
    These factors as well as the long dark days of the Winter of COVID are what we are facing for the months ahead..

  • Krista December 3, 2020 (10:08 am)

    This is sad and scary. Scary that the incident seems to have been at random and could have been anyone- I love half a block away and we nearly walked down that alley at the same time the incident happened. It’s sad because this year and all it’s isolation has and will push people past their mental and emotional limits. I also feel for the new neighbor and victim who just moved here. Community is so important, especially now, and I wish to get to know more of my neighbors to extend care, concern and compassion rather than fear that any of my neighbors could snap and shoot me in the alley. 

  • Al King December 3, 2020 (12:53 pm)

    I do see him. I don’t recall him-LUCKILLY because i live next door and walk to the beach down that alley.  I’m afraid we’re just seeing the beginning of people with mental issues start to act out. With the easy access to knives and the EVEN  EASIER access to guns we all need to be very careful with our interactions with strangers. 

    • StopCuttingDownTrees December 4, 2020 (3:57 pm)

      It’s literally a million times easier to buy a knife than a gun. One can also make a knife out of nearly anything ridged. Knives don’t require ammunition, either.

  • Devastated December 3, 2020 (1:23 pm)

    This is a horrible situation for everyone involved. I know the suspect personally and out of character does not even begin to cover this. As it’s noted above, the investigation is still unfolding so please don’t be the judge and jury until you have all of the facts. 

    • Neighbor December 3, 2020 (3:38 pm)

      I also know the suspect personally and he isn’t a violent person. I know he has struggled since the passing of his brother, then the isolation of the lock down wasn’t helpful. I do believe he should have been taking his mental health more seriously in the last several months. 

  • Alex S. December 3, 2020 (1:51 pm)

    It’s odd, I don’t see him listed in the jail registry.  I love how gun nuts always talk about “responsible gun owners exercising their 2nd Amendment rights” …when so many of them become very irresponsible in a fraction of a second.  

    • WSB December 3, 2020 (2:06 pm)

      Yes, he’s in the jail register, has been since the day of arrest.

    • Stickerbush December 3, 2020 (2:28 pm)

      This suspect in this incident really seems like an anomaly, it will be interesting to see what motive he had in this shooting or if he just flipped out mentally. It isn’t often that someone with a CCP goes out and randomly shoots someone. I wish the victim a complete recovery though it’s hard to imagine how one could ever get over being assaulted like this.

  • Al King December 3, 2020 (4:29 pm)

    “not a violent person” “out of character” Does NOT justify/lesson/excuse what he did to that man in the alley. The ONLY one that needs sympathy is the victim. If you thought he needed help why didn’t you get it for him BEFORE he changed the victims life forever???.

    • AMD December 3, 2020 (7:46 pm)

      You can have empathy for more than one person at a time.  If there is enough suffering to go around, so too should there be enough sympathy.

      • Neighbor December 5, 2020 (8:45 pm)

        Thank you! So true.

    • WSNeighbor December 6, 2020 (9:30 am)

      Without excusing behavior, you can still have empathy for both victim and suspect. Mental illness is still an illness. Sometimes it can go undetected for years, and could have been triggered by the loss of a loved one, on top of being isolated during a pandemic. We don’t know all of these details yet. My heart goes out to the victim, and I hope that we can all chip in to help his family while he undergoes surgery. The gofundme link is here: It is a horrible situation for all involved. My heart also goes out to the suspect’s family, who have already lost one family member, and now have to deal with this, likely due to mental illness. Regardless of blame, it’s a very sad and difficult situation. I hope the victim has a speedy recovery!

      • JJ December 18, 2020 (9:46 pm)

        This comment strikes the perfect balance. Well stated. 

  • AD December 3, 2020 (11:24 pm)

    Keep in mind the victim is a husband and a father of 2 young children. He did nothing wrong and was shot 6 times in his car! The man that shot him, is a police officers brother. They are going to go easy on him because of this, since they always protect their own! I understand this man suffered a loss, but this is no way to act as a normal human being. He almost murdered this innocent man who is now suffering tremendously along with his family. 

  • Jennie December 4, 2020 (7:05 am)

    Hidden Valley Road is a book that just came out this year about the history of schizophrenia research in our country. It is woven in among the story of a family with 12 children of which half developed schizophrenia. Mental health issues can go undetected by those around people. It is not always obvious especially if you don’t know a person well. Sometimes even family are unaware. Drug use, especially marijuana in some people, can trigger breaks from reality. When the  mind goes away from reality the stories in that person’s head can lead down a dark path.

  • Friend December 5, 2020 (11:52 am)

    I’ve been a friend of the accused, Garrett, for a long time. All of us are beyond shocked and wondering what happened as this is so far beyond out of character for him. He was a loved family man and friend. All of our hearts go out to the victim and hope he has a quick and full recovery. 

  • Amy December 5, 2020 (4:35 pm)

    After searching for a while, I just found a link to the victim’s family’s GoFundMe page. My heart just breaks for this family. Evie, I saw your post above, if there is anything we can do to help, please reach out. I only live a few blocks from you., let’s help this family. Alek apparently needs multiple surgeries.

  • AMY L EVA December 5, 2020 (4:42 pm)

    After searching for a while, I just found a link to the victim’s family’s GoFundMe page. My heart just breaks for this family. Evie, I saw your post above, if there is anything we can do to help, please reach out. I only live a few blocks from you., let’s help this family. Alek apparently needs multiple surgeries.

  • AN December 8, 2020 (12:23 am)

    WSB, would you consider publishing a follow-up with the GoFundMe information easily accessible? This poor family deserves all the help we can give as a community.

  • PNW20 December 12, 2020 (7:04 pm)

    Typically admissions staff at the hospital take care of it, but if not, the victims wife should call the hospital to complete the application for this program: large portion of the medical bills, counseling, even loss of wages will be covered through the Washington State Crime Victims compensation fund. I worked in a busy ER for years and this fund was what we accessed as “insurance” for every crime victim. Praying for both families. No mother or father ever thinks they’ll be on either side of this desperately sad situation. ❤️

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