CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Here’s what we know about the Roxy’s Casino shooting suspect

Court documents reveal that revenge related to a West Seattle robbery case is the alleged motive in the Roxy’s Casino shootings that left one casino patron dead and two employees wounded. The suspect – whose arrest we reported last night – is not yet charged but we are identifying him as he is still in Department of Corrections community custody – our state’s version of parole – for a different West Seattle robbery case. He is 21-year-old Omar A. Upham Jr.; we reported on the charges filed against him in 2019 for a holdup at the 35th/Henderson gas station/mini-mart then known as Lucky 5. He was eventually sentenced to just under four years in prison and was released into community custody last October, according to information we obtained this afternoon from Corrections (which also provided the photo at right).

Now, Upham is being held without bail after a hearing this afternoon. The probable-cause documents provided by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office say his alleged target Saturday night was actually one of the shooting survivors, a casino security guard. From the court documents:

… Witnesses and associates of (the guard) were interviewed, and several of them stated (he) was being sought after (because) he “snitched” on someone involved in a robbery. (The guard) later provided a recorded statement identifying Omar Upham as the person who shot him. (He) and Upham were once friends, but their friendship ended when (he) informed on Upham when they were arrested for robbery. When Upham entered the casino on 5/27/23, (the guard) immediately recognized Upham by his eyes and ran. When asked why Upham was after (him), he replied, “I told on him four years ago.” A search of … criminal history showed an arrest by Seattle PD in 2019, where (he) had identified Upham as an accomplice in a robbery (Seattle PD case no. 2019-441721).

We cross-referenced that to a street robbery in The Junction early Thanksgiving morning 2019, days before the Lucky 5 holdup. His arrest and that of another suspect in December 2019 had numerous West Seattle links, as explained here. Upham pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery in 2021 and was sentenced to 46 months, the low end of the standard sentencing range, though he had prior convictions – as a juvenile – for robbery and assault. His current community-custody supervision was scheduled to run until March 2024. The court documents say he was most recently living in Renton and was arrested early Thursday morning at a Georgetown business described in the documents as his employer.

30 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Here's what we know about the Roxy's Casino shooting suspect"

  • Curle June 2, 2023 (6:17 pm)

    Good job staying on top of this. 

  • SC June 2, 2023 (7:00 pm)

    He can rot where he belongs.  Our friends are fighting for their lives and one was lost. There is no reason to bring this to innocent people. 

  • WS Resident June 2, 2023 (7:02 pm)

    Lock him up forever 

  • West Seattle Resident June 2, 2023 (7:27 pm)

    Another repeat offender who received light sentencing.  Cause and effect – super logical but somehow so hard for Seattle prosecutors and law makers to practice. This could have been avoided. Not much to worry about it when they just tap you on the wrist, hardly any repercussions.I am assuming they have not caught the Alki shooter yet either? They seem to be getting away frequently as well. Glad this guy was caught fairly swiftly, although it’s insane he actually went to work. Emotionless  psychopath….

    • A local June 3, 2023 (2:57 am)

      It is my belief that people who dont harm others with their crimes should get light sentences but if you are out robbing and shooting or stabbing people, the book should be thrown. Especially if you do it more than once. Maybe if youre young the first time you do it, you can be rehabilitated, but if you hurt someone again, thats the mark of someone dangerous. And those people should be locked up. Not for punishment. But for everyone elses safety.I was a young punk once. But even though as teenagers and young adults we stayed out late, drank, smoked and were probably annoying to nearby adults- we never hurt anyone or stole/robbed from people or buildings. Now many years later I work a white collar office job and have a nice quiet middle class life. Punks grow up.But, people like this are something else entirely. They are scary. They turn from young criminals into hardened criminals. And im not sure what to do with them beyond put them where they cant hurt anyone else.

      • Mike June 3, 2023 (12:48 pm)

        Define hurt, because crimes always have a victim, that’s why they’re crimes.  Imagine if we had equal punishment for the crimes committed.  Would you be willing to accept punishment for crimes you may have committed as a “punk”?  I remember the punk kids in my school, a few got a reality check by victimizing the wrong person.

  • Joel June 2, 2023 (7:55 pm)

    Why do we keep letting these guys out?

  • Scubafrog June 2, 2023 (7:56 pm)

    Condolences and love  to the victim’s family and friends.  Sending love, energy and prayers to the people still in the hospital, and their friends and families.   

  • 1994 June 2, 2023 (9:03 pm)

    Omar sounds like one unhealthy and nasty guy.  Your life is in the toilet and you will be in the toilet forever. Your choices and behaviors put you there and hopefully the court will keep you there – forever.

  • Alan June 2, 2023 (9:03 pm)

    Life in prison, that should be the ONLY penalty for this loser. No more kid gloves for violent crime, NO MORE!

  • Nwe June 2, 2023 (9:30 pm)

    He was jailed for several years – what did they do to rehabilitate him? If the goal is release or release is on the horizon, people in prison should be getting lots of programming and support so they don’t fall into the same patterns or worse ones. You can’t just put a problem in storage for a while and think it’s going to be solved without work.

    • Gaslit June 2, 2023 (10:24 pm)

      If you think the purpose of incarceration is to rehabilitate, you’re dreaming. They put criminals in for as long as they can keep them off the streets, nothing more. Who is going to perform the rehabilitation? Who pays for them to do so? Naivety isn’t going to bring these poor people back. Violent offenders shouldn’t get light sentences. This guy shouldn’t have been ion the street and he certainly shouldn’t have had a gun. 

      • CAM June 3, 2023 (12:45 am)

        4 years in DOC is only a “light sentence” if you haven’t ever set foot in a prison. This tough guy attitude that everyone out there could handle a few years (or even months) in a prison, no problem, with a snap of their fingers is extremely toxic and suggests a lack of appreciation for what your civil liberties actually grant you everyday. 

        • Brad R June 3, 2023 (12:14 pm)

          Do the math. He didn’t serve anywhere near 4 years. “Light” really has less to do with conditions in incarceration than with people’s views of what an appropriate sentence length for armed robbery should be. Less than two years served isn’t it. 

          • CAM June 3, 2023 (1:44 pm)

            He was in custody from Dec 2019 to Oct 2022. That’s 3 years. He was likely released in in 2022 because you get more than one for one credit for time served pre conviction (in case anyone wants to consider that when railing against bail reforms while also demanding longer sentences). And he also served that time in custody during a time when much of it would have been in more severe restrictions than typical for custody settings. Nothing “light” or short about that. This isn’t Minority Report and we don’t sentence people based on what we think they might do if they get let out. 

    • Rhonda June 2, 2023 (11:37 pm)

      Our state prison system has all sorts of rehabilitation programs for inmates at zero cost: high school completion, college courses, psychological counseling, anger management, addiction counseling, job placement and training opportunities, social service support and guidance well before their release, ESL, etc, etc.

      • CAM June 3, 2023 (12:42 am)

        And there are extraordinarily long waitlists and multiple criteria to be met to get into the majority of those programs. So no, we aren’t meeting those rehabilitation goals because we are only providing services to the select few that rise to the top. 

        • anonyme June 3, 2023 (8:25 am)

          Cam is right.  These services are mostly theoretical – just as they are outside prison.  That said, I do believe the prison system needs to be overhauled to be both punitive and rehabilitative.  There should be a strict schedule inside to include mandatory work and education, including social education, instead of just long stretches of time learning to become a better criminal.

          • Rhonda June 3, 2023 (1:03 pm)

            Courts have ruled over decades that forcing convicts to participate in rehab or vocational programs while incarcerated is unconstitutional. The exception is unless such participation is specifically ordered by the court as part of their sentences. Many federal civil rights still exist while inmates are behind bars. That’s why such programs are offered and inmates are highly encouraged to take advantage of them, but some have no desire to.

        • Recovering Leftist June 6, 2023 (2:09 pm)

          But he got a job, and the motive for this killing was not one of material necessity. Society can’t rehabilitate sociopathy. 

      • Mando#2 June 3, 2023 (2:46 pm)

        Well said!

    • Curle June 3, 2023 (9:46 am)

      You can’t just put a problem in storage for a while and think it’s going to be solved without work.”

      Sure you can. Prosecutors and criminologists have known for a long time that the most reliable rehabilitative process is aging and that the best way to lower crime is to keep repeat offenders in prison. Large increases in sentencing terms for repeat offenders strongly correlate with lower crime. Eventually, these guys age out of criminality but for some it takes a long time.  

  • Little Lowe June 2, 2023 (10:02 pm)

    What a winner. This guy needs to go. 

  • Security? June 3, 2023 (12:00 am)

    I want to ask a question with genuine and sincere interest.what is the point of having security in the casino when 1) criminals aren’t stopped as they enter and 2) security LITERALLY runs away from the bad guy they are supposed to keep people safe from? Seems like they need real security there at the casino and not something i assume is more akin to a bouncer. 

  • Questions June 3, 2023 (2:21 am)

    Did the patron die at the scene? People in the comments in the original story seem to think he died at Roxy’s but then KIRO7 was reporting all the victims were in the hospital on the following Monday so I was confused on the when and where of the death.

    • WSB June 3, 2023 (9:16 am)

      No, he died at the hospital. We reported on Monday (see update at end of story) that all three victims had survived after all – as noted, Harborview Medical Center doesn’t usually provide condition information if reporters don’t know the patient’s name, but was able to make an exception in this case. – TR

      • WS resident June 4, 2023 (12:09 am)

        I’d like to see this cat locked up for lyfe with NO option for early dismissal.He doesn’t deserve anything better.I’ll stop there.

  • justme June 3, 2023 (7:59 am)

    Before the classes or rehab in prisons, I always think the first thing that has to happen is for the criminal to give a rats butt about their own life first.  I feel that most criminals have no self value or value for life in general, let alone yours and mine.

  • Jim P. June 3, 2023 (11:50 am)

    Wait, a security guard has a criminal history of robbery?  What’s wrong with this picture?

  • Buncake June 5, 2023 (1:20 pm)

    Quit breaking the law so much. Too many people out there doing bad things and snitching on each other. With all the bad lifestyle choices. Better to not do horrible crimes in the first place too many youngsters getting caught in the trap of wreckless crime eventually you’ll pay a heavy price or life in a box better to not do the crime in the first place.. Have some common sence

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