That’s a photo of Tilorae Shepherd, the 22-year-old Federal Way man shot and killed at Alki on Monday night. Just before family and friends gathered at the beach this evening for a memorial, charges were filed in the shooting that took his life and injured three other people.
The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has filed a second-degree murder charge and two first-degree-assault charges against 19-year-old Milton Arnold III of Des Moines, who’s been in custody since shortly after the shooting. The charging documents tell the story of what witnesses told police happened that night.
First – the charging documents reveal that while Arnold has no history of criminal convictions, in addition to the domestic-violence arrest last November that we mentioned in our previous coverage, he was also facing possible charges in an incident less than two months ago. Federal Way police say Arnold and accomplices robbed two people at a park there, at gunpoint, then hit one of the victims in the face with his gun, and walked both into nearby woods – still at gunpoint – as they pleaded for their lives. Charges had not yet been filed in that case. One of Arnold’s alleged accomplices that day, prosecutors say, is an 18-year-old friend who was injured in the Alki shooting – the one who was allegedly driven to Harborview, with Arnold in the same car.
Harborview, you may recall, is where police found Arnold. But first, here’s what else is the charging documents:
First, the original assessment of the victims that night as being in their 30s was incorrect. Along with the 22-year-old who was killed, and the suspect’s 18-year-old friend who was wounded, the two other people who survived with gunshot wounds to their legs are described as a woman and man who are both also 22 years old.
One witness told police that those two had “confronted his group about using fireworks” – one 911 caller said the woman had been hit with one – and alleged that Mr. Shepherd came over to defend the man, and “displayed a gun.” Another witness said that the gun was in Mr. Shepherd’s waistband, and that while he lifted his shirt to show it, he did not pull it out nor use it in any other way. As noted earlier, there had been a 911 call about a dispute involving a gun even before shots were fired; then the calltaker heard gunfire while that caller was on the line.
The documents say officers found nine fired 9mm casings at the scene along with two .25 caliber casings
Witness and vehicle descriptions were circulated among police, and when officers got to Harborview Medical Center about 15 minutes after the shooting, they saw a gray BMW arrive with two women and two men. The latter were Arnold and his previously mentioned friend, who had a gunshot wound to his abdomen. Police saw two guns in the rear passenger seat where Arnold had been sitting. Arnold matched a description given by witnesses, so officers took him into custody and impounded the car. (The two women in the car were questioned and said they had gone to Alki with Arnold but weren’t with him when the shooting happened, nor did they know his friend who was wounded.)
The other man who was shot was interviewed by police at the hospital, He said he and the woman who was shot – his partner – were riding scooters at Alki when they ran into Mr. Shepherd, an acquaintance of his. A short time later, he said, a firework hit his partner in the head, They started confronting people nearby, trying to find out who was responsible. At one point when they were asking two men if they had seen who did it, Mr. Shepherd came up behind him. The other men reportedly said, “Don’t come over here with that s—t, don’t come over here with that,” and then, the shooting survivor said, one man pulled a pistol out of his pants and shot Mr. Shepherd from just a few feet away. The survivor started running, and that’s when he and his girlfriend were shot.
Police talked to her too; she said she and her boyfriend got into “a little confrontation” with people over the fireworks but worked it out and were walking away when the two men, believed to be Arnold and his friend, said something like, “why are you beefing with my people” – and then the argument heated up again, followed shortly thereafter by gunfire. She said the two men were with two women who matched the description of the ones who arrived at Harborview with Arnold and his friend.
In trying to sort out who was armed and who fired shots, police included additional information in the charging documents: No gun was found on or near Mr. Shepherd, but a Glock .357 SIG magazine was found on him. A relative later contacted police and said Mr. Shepherd may have had his Glock 32 Gen 4 pistol with him when he was killed and provided the serial number. No casings of that type were found at the scene, just the 9mm and 25-caliber ones mentioned earlier. Detectives believe all the 9mm casings were from the same gun.
Earlier today police got a search warrant for the impounded BMW. Inside it they found a Glock 32 – but with a different serial number than the one given by Mr. Shepherd’s relative – along with a Beretta that fires “the equivalent of” a .25-caliber round, and a 9mm “ghost gun,” made from different parts. Neither the Glock nor the Beretta had ammunition but the 9mm gun had a 21-round magazine with ‘additional live 9mm rounds.” They also found a blue hat similar to what witnesses had described, and a bloody white T-shirt.
A judge set Arnold’s bail today at $2 million. He remains in the King County Jail and will be arraigned later this month.