FOLLOWUP: Murder, assault, gun charges filed in Roxy’s Casino shootings; previous West Seattle gunfire cases linked

(WSB photo, May 27)

Last week we reported on the arrest of 21-year-old Omar Upham, Jr., in the shootings that killed one person and seriously wounded two others at Roxy’s Casino. Today, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Upham with first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement, two counts of attempted first-degree murder, and two counts of first-degree unlawful firearm possession. As we reported last week, Upham is a convicted felon, having served time for a 2019 holdup at a West Seattle mini-mart.

The charging documents tell much the same story we reported last week, that Upham went to the casino with the intent to kill security guard John Leota, a former friend and ex-accomplice in another 2019 robbery case. The charging documents reveal this may have been the third time since Upham got out of prison last October that he went after Leota – the other two were West Seattle gunfire incidents covered here. Also new in the charging documents, the casino patron who was killed is identified as Hung Q. Nguyen. Upham is alleged to have walked into the casino at about quarter till 11 Saturday night, May 27th, and shot at Leota, who started running, as Upham continued shooting at him. Also shot and seriously wounded was casino employee Chheng “CJ” Oung. In the casino, police found what the charging papers describe as “four .40 caliber casings and two bullet projectiles.” Subsequent investigation, prosecutors write, revealed this:

During the on-scene investigation, the manager of Roxbury Lanes … stated Leota was hired as a security guard less than a month ago (and he) noted Leota told him he had recently been released from prison, and there were rumors that people were after Leota for being a “snitch.” (At the hospital, Leota’s girlfriend) told (a Detective) that there are a lot of people that have problems with Leota and people call him a “snitch.” … Leota’s brother … also advised several months ago, an unknown suspect shot up Leota’s mother’s house, and in a separate incident, Leota’s vehicle was also shot up. Andrew believed those shootings were related and that Leota was being targeted. Those incidents were confirmed through Seattle PD crime reports, Seattle PD 2022-298318, and 2023-080520. The shooting at the vehicle (2022-298318) occurred on November 5, 2022; a bullet projectile was recovered and four shell casings were recovered from that scene. The shooting at the house (2023-080520), located (in the 6400 block of) 29 Av SW in Seattle, occurred on March 24, 2023. Five 9mm shell casings, a live 9mm round, and a bullet projectile were recovered from that scene.

We had reported on both the incidents mentioned in the documents – November 5 here, March 24 here. The court documents say Leota’s mother no longer lives there. They also mention a warrant search of Upham’s residence, which the arrest form says is in Renton; there, police report finding items including an AR-15 rifle, a 9mm extended magazine, and, in the trunk of Upham’s car, “a stolen .40 caliber Ruger P94 handgun and a .45 caliber Glock-type handgun with an extended loaded magazine.” Both were test-fired by police; subsequent testing revealed a “presumptive match” between the .40 caliber gun and casings found at the casino shooting scene. Upham remains held without bail and will answer the charges at arraignment later this month.

16 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Murder, assault, gun charges filed in Roxy's Casino shootings; previous West Seattle gunfire cases linked"

  • Jay June 5, 2023 (7:54 pm)

    It’s a really bad look for the government that a witness who testified in court got shot by the defendant. This just should not happen. It undermines the justice system. Especially if it’s known in the community that this guy had a target on his back for being a snitch.

    • Dumb criminals June 5, 2023 (9:51 pm)

      Leota wasn’t just a witness that testified in court. He participated in the crimes with Upham. Hence being called a snitch. He testified against Upham even though they were “friends” and accomplices on crimes.

    • Adam June 5, 2023 (10:29 pm)

      The victim who was a witness was, if I remember correctly, robbing ppl with the murderer. This wasn’t just an innocent witness, it was a criminal who saw a way out by telling on everyone else involved when he was caught. This makes the job much easier for the prosecutor, so they offer deals for snitches. I don’t know what you expect. The two guys knew each other and to testify, you have to show your face. So they couldn’t protect his identity, and he was likely well-aware of what can happen when you snitch on a guy that robs ppl with guns. I think armed robbery should have a longer sentence, I think prisons should work harder on reform and rehabilitation, and I think I’ll spend more time feeling sorry for the other two victims than the guy who took the easy way out when he shouldn’t have gotten a break. Sure, he’s a victim too, the murderer is a piece of sh, but I’m unsure of what you wanted the cops or courts or legal system to do here. Really, they both should still be in prison for their earlier crimes, in my opinion. 

      • Reap what u sow June 6, 2023 (6:56 am)

        Real talk mf who talk especially against your co-defendants but just in general to slither out of being held accountable for their own actions really sign their own death warrant and from what the streets say aren’t really favored by the police themselves. No one likes a rat. He should have just did his time kept his mouth shut but because he chose the route of a stank rat a really good woman who has been thru enuf in her life is fighting for her life while another one lay dead in a coffin. Sorry it I think he needs to be charged for intent to endanger or something. He literally put every person who has ever been around him since knowing this threat was a real situation and continued thru his life here in the same streets after two prior incidents when his ass really should have bounced out to another state or something

    • Josh June 6, 2023 (9:25 am)

      It’s also obvious from reading the prior articles on WSB about the shootings at 29th and Morgan in the past year which turned out to be the mother of the intended target in the Casino shootings house that they had stopped ‘snitching’ and were not cooperating with police which kind of handcuffs law enforcements ability to stop this from happening. The guy who ‘snitched’ should have moved away from the area rather then set up where he was clearly a target for retribution. What is the justice system supposed to do, assign a private detail to the murderers formed accomplice?

  • Jim June 5, 2023 (8:36 pm)

    Why on earth are they hiring a security guard that is recently released from prison? In my opinion this is not a good choice to have someone in that sort of position, instead they should be given a different type of position in the bowling alley.  Yes, people should be given opportunities for employment. 

  • Bill June 5, 2023 (9:23 pm)

     … also advised several months ago, an unknown suspect shot up Leota’s mother’s house,”
    “The court documents say Upham’s mother no longer lives there.”

    Didn’t you mean ‘Leota’s mother”?

    • WSB June 5, 2023 (10:12 pm)

      Yes, sorry. Fixing.

  • waikikigirl June 6, 2023 (6:26 am)

    I agree with both Adam and Jim’s comments!      Does anyone know anything on the other victim, Hung Nguyen? That is a very common name, is he from around the neighborhood, crowdfunding account???

  • snowskier June 6, 2023 (8:50 am)

    Is there a gofundme or other support site for CJ Oung?  She is a truly innocent bystander who I’m sure will need help through her recovery.  Sad situation for her and Mr. Nguyen.

  • Marty June 6, 2023 (10:54 am)

    The innocent victims here should sue the casino. Hiring a convicted felon who you know is being hunted for being a snitch is just plain stupid.

    • Top Flight June 7, 2023 (6:49 pm)

      Lawyers salivating “pick me! pick me! I can get you tens of millions”. 

  • Brian June 7, 2023 (5:22 am)

    How is it that a person was convicted of a felony in 2019 out on the streets so soon, especially if it involved a weapon?  And I wonder who initially bought the .40 cal would feel knowing the gun stollen from them became a cause of so much pain and suffering?  As for the security guard, this guy seems to be pretty stupid.  Look at all the people he put at risk… amazingly short-sighted and selfish. I agree with those above – do your time, and then if you want to reform your life – by all means do it. He chose the short-term win. But he’s not off the hook – he, and everyone around him, is still at risk. 

  • Jimmy Butle June 7, 2023 (12:22 pm)

    Do we know the locations of the other shooting incidents in west Seattle? Wondering if it’s the one that happened by us…

    • WSB June 7, 2023 (12:59 pm)

      They’re in the links in the story.

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