CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: White Center bus murder suspect charged, accused of shooting victim without a word

(Also published on partner site White Center Now)

He’s still not in custody, but the teenage suspect in last month’s murder aboard a Metro bus in White Center is now charged – as an adult.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office filed charges of first-degree murder and second-degree unlawful gun possession against 17-year-old Miguel R. Rivera Dominguez in the death of 21-year-old Marcell D. Wagner. And with that, an “active warrant” is out for Rivera Dominguez’s arrest, which would put him in jail with bail set at $3 million. The charging documents tell the story of what police and prosecutors believe happened – and for those who assumed there must have been some sort of dispute or confrontation between the two, apparently not: “Without any provocation, and in fact without having ever interacted with the victim at all, the defendant fired five rounds into the victim’s head and neck at point blank range. The defendant then fired two more shots through the door of the bus and fled to a location where he could change his clothing before returning home again.”

Investigators eventually identified Rivera Dominguez by tracing back to the Burien neighborhood where he and a friend had gotten on that bus. They learned he had once been reported as a runaway from his home there, and that he had been suspended from Highline High School for a fight during the last school year. Watching the bus’s on-board video of the shooting, detectives noted that the suspect’s friend appeared as shocked as the bus’s other 15 passengers when he pulled a gun and opened fire on the victim, who was described as possibly sleeping. The court documents say detectives eventually talked to the friend and he also told them he had no idea Rivera Dominguez was going to shoot someone, and that neither of them knew the victim, who had boarded the bus before they did, and was seated in the rear, where they also sat. Deputies found six casings on the bus and one outside. Rivera Dominguez was last seen at the Boys and Girls Club in Greenbridge shortly after the shooting, where he changed his clothes. If you have any information on Rivera Dominguez’s whereabouts, call 911.

35 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: White Center bus murder suspect charged, accused of shooting victim without a word"

  • Julian November 1, 2023 (6:49 pm)

    That’s egregious. I wonder how he got the firearm. To kill someone in cold blood for no apparent reason, I’d think you’d have to be a complete psychopath.

    • Daniel November 1, 2023 (11:37 pm)

      Statistically, as a 17 year old, if they’re not already in a gang, it’s theft from family.  Less likely (for a pistol, in Seattle) a gift from family.  Also could just be stolen from a car or house, or illegally purchased.

  • Joe November 1, 2023 (6:50 pm)

    Sounds like he was trying to show off to his friend about what a bad-*** he was. What a loser.

  • Tyler November 1, 2023 (7:01 pm)

    This is sickening, he should be locked up for life.

  • ltfd November 1, 2023 (7:45 pm)

    Jail violent youth.

  • 1994 November 1, 2023 (8:17 pm)

    I hope he is apprehended soon! He is about 6′ 1″ ? Looks thin, could have shaved his head or colored his hair…..He is a total menace and should be locked up for life since that is the most severe penalty we got.

  • Lp November 1, 2023 (9:02 pm)

    Why would he throw his life away like this at only 17?

  • Rhonda November 1, 2023 (9:50 pm)

    This is why we need to build more youth detention centers and adult prisons.

    • Jort November 1, 2023 (11:54 pm)

      Well, we already have more youth detention centers and jails than any other well-developed country in the world, so why not add a few more?! After all, those jails seem to be doing such a good job, you know with how our crime rate is so vastly lower than other countries since we lock up so many more people. … Right? Rhonda’s comments are always so illuminating and cut right to the core of this remarkable perspective: that there is not a single problem society faces that more cops and more jails can’t fix. Even a senseless, painful, heartbreaking tragedy like this is another chance to push out a cheap internet comment for more more more more more more more more cops and jails. Like a broken record. More cops. More jails. More cops. More jails. A cop for every bus. A jail for every child. It’s just truly, truly remarkable, this mindset. And, of course, if we don’t agree with this vision of carceral maximalism, then, gosh, we’re just those “defund the police” extremists. This stuff is so, so gross to read, day in, day out, and especially when reading about an actual tragedy that cuts to the heart of our collective failures as a society. Oh well, just sprinkle in some more cops and some more jails, I guess. Nice easy answers that make us feel oh-so-good inside. Gross. So, so gross.

      • Being a troll isn’t useful either, Jort November 2, 2023 (5:00 am)

        Jort, unless I somehow missed it, you just spent 5,000 words criticizing another reader’s suggestion (I actually interpreted Rhonda’s one-sentence comment as an expression of frustration more than anything else) without offering any sort of alternative solution, which is typical of people like you (yeah, your condescending dissertation tells us exactly who you are). Unless you have a better solution to violent crime, then I would suggest that you stop criticizing others who are frustrated and desperate for solutions. Being a troll and stifling discourse is what’s gross here, Jort. 

      • Rhonda November 2, 2023 (5:16 am)

        Jort, we’ve tried your model of too-few prisons and too-little youth detention and the outcome has been deadly. We see time and time again that there’s not enough prison space in our state. The results have been FAR more tragic than simply “gross”.

        • Jort November 2, 2023 (6:17 pm)

          The model you describe is false and an outright lie. We have more prisons and more people in prison (and more youth detention and more youths in detention) than almost any developed country on earth. “Too-few?” “Too-little?” We are world leaders in jailing children. Perhaps the question you should be asking is, “Why are our world-leading incarceration rates not resulting in lower crime rates?” Another good question: “Why do countries with fewer prisons and fewer police have lower crime rates?”  Another good question: “Why do youths commit less crime in countries with lower punishments?” But you won’t ask that, as it seems there is literally no maximal limit to the numbers of jails or police to solve every problem society faces, with clearly no self-awareness of the literal facts of life beyond the borders of this country.  

      • Danimal November 2, 2023 (7:59 am)

        Good Lord man. Stop clutching at pearls. Tragedy? Yes. Extreme punishment deserved? Most certainly. This kid forfeited his right to live longer with his actions, yet you try to make it an opportunity to push some progressive agenda that doesn’t even remotely deal with the punishment (specifically, life imprisonment in maximum security, or the death penalty, if we ever figure out that we need it back) that is absolutely necessary as a deterrent for future murderous miscreants, and as punishment for his egregious lack of ability to function in society. I don’t want to hear any of your poke-holes snark either. Shedding crocodile tears to promote an unworkable (and not-working) agenda is not respectable.

        • Jort November 2, 2023 (6:13 pm)

          This child does indeed deserve serious punishment including prison time for ending a human life so callously. I am clearly not arguing that point. I am, however, disappointed with the comment that says “this is why we need to build more youth detention centers and more prisons.” There’s plenty of space in existing prisons for this alleged murderer. Having more prisons sitting around, waiting for occupants, likely wouldn’t have stopped this murder from happening, either. But, boy, it sure feels good to throw out some quick pro-jail, pro-cop propaganda zingers in comment sections when tragedy strikes.  It’s unseemly, and it’s gross.

          • Canton November 2, 2023 (11:05 pm)

            Although “alleged” is the proper term before trial, “watching the bus’s ON BOARD video of the shooting” mutes all your points. Try again.

          • Byron James November 3, 2023 (1:41 am)

            Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.Singapore has some of the strictest laws in the world, and the punishments for crimes are harsh.

          • Jort November 3, 2023 (1:51 pm)

            There are a few other circumstances surrounding the approach to crime deterrence in Singapore that might be valuable to consider before trying to apply that kind of thinking to the United States. Also, you know… Iceland, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand … all of them have lower crime rates than even Singapore! Do you think those countries have even stricter laws and punishments than Singapore? What do you think might cause some countries to have lower crime rates than a more punitive country? Seriously. Why do you think that might be, and maybe go a step further and tell me why you think America couldn’t take similar approaches? Hmm?

      • Jafo November 2, 2023 (8:31 am)

        Jort always chiming in like a broken record to defend criminals and blame “society” instead of those committing the crimes. Truly remarkable, this mindset. Gross. So, so gross. 

      • WS Native November 2, 2023 (8:58 am)

        If it was about owls Rhonda would probably have more empathy. So disappointing.

      • neighbor November 2, 2023 (9:46 am)

        The problem isn’t the number of jails, it’s that they’re not effective. The purpose of a corrections system should be to use the time while people are there to rehabilitate the person and correct the behavior. We don’t actually have a corrections system, we simply have criminal person storage, which is why the recidivism rate is so high. We need to get back to basics, eliminate private prisons, and invest in an actual corrections system that works. Only after we do that will we find what the right number is, and yes, it will likely be much lower than what we have today.

      • Lina November 2, 2023 (9:53 am)

        Yeah, this comment thread feels gross.  Thanks for giving me hope I am not the only one having a visceral reaction to the comments of my fellow West Seattleites.  Ugh. This shooting was a heartbreaking, violent, and awful incident and yes, I do feel that justice for the victim and their loved ones should happen.  And, my conscience leads me to feel that more jails, prisons etc are not the right path.  And, maybe more importantly, NONE of the data on what actually works to prevent crime points to more jails as a viable solution.  Investments in early education, support for teens, addressing poverty, etc. the list goes on, all the sort of bigger picture issues are what would actually prevent/lessen violent crime – before it happens, before a family has to go through this trauma of losing someone to gun violence, not just to punish afterwards. 

        • wscommuter November 2, 2023 (10:58 am)

          Just so we’re all clear … what would you do with this particular offender?  Setting aside the histrionics of “more jails/get tough v. more hugs/get empathetic”, in this precise situation, please do explain what you think would be a “just” outcome in this instance?  I’m curious to know.  

          • anonyme November 2, 2023 (3:25 pm)

            And this is the salient point.  No matter how many or how few jails we have, and regardless of the age of the offender, we cannot allow violent psychopaths to wander our streets.  Period.

      • Moriarty November 2, 2023 (10:38 am)

        Jort,While it is sad, diversion programs and low bails for violent offenders clearly are not working. Violent crime is up in Seattle and outpacing national averages. We have gun laws, use the police and justice system to enforce them. Drive gangs out of our city. Continue to up zone the city so ample housing can be built and drive down rents. Stop introducing new taxes and making it harder for people in our city to make ends meet; audit our city spending instead.We need both a carrot and stick approach. The longer we neglect this problem and fail to address it with obvious solutions, the more tragedies families on both sides, and victims will have to face.

        • Jort November 3, 2023 (1:58 pm)

          I’m beginning to think that everyone here is under the impression that I think a murderer who unloaded five bullets into the back of a sleeping 21-year-old’s head should somehow walk free. That is in no way what I said. There is no evidence of any kind that the “diversion programs and low bails” of our justice system allegedly caused this 17-year-old child to murder someone. That’s just cheap political posturing in a comments section. Perhaps you can see why it is so challenging to discuss the effectiveness of our approach to criminal justice and crime deterrence, when the moment you call the nature of our existing system into question you are labeled a criminal appeaser and police abolitionist. This is absurd and stupid.

    • Julian November 2, 2023 (5:32 am)

      I don’t think there has been an indication that our current facilities won’t be able to hold this guy, so why does this story mean we need more?

    • evanpetersnottheactor November 2, 2023 (10:36 am)

      Rhonda you should take notes from Jort’s comment as that is what sarcasm looks and sounds like. But I’m sure you’ll say your comment about building more detention centers was sarcasm too. You’re too witty for us!

      And no new jails ever. It doesn’t do anything for our society.

    • April November 2, 2023 (11:22 am)

      @Rhonda  I agree with you. We need juvenile detention centers back. These kids want to act like an adult, than charge them like an adult!!

      • WSB November 2, 2023 (2:06 pm)

        Just to be clear, juvenile detention centers remain open.

  • justme November 2, 2023 (6:02 am)

    I don’t know what the answer is other than maybe more early intervention parental support in the way of mental health services to youth, for free. Many parents I know don’t seek services for their teens or younger because of the huge out of pocket expense, or they don’t have insurance. But what I do know from working with high school drop-outs is that when they go into youth jails it just increases their connections, builds their statuses, and even makes drugs available to them. Not sure it does much good for the majority.  I also know from having a few of my own kids, sometimes one of them just doesn’t fit the society we live in and even after my best parenting, they can turn out a challenge and potentially a problem on society. There are no one size fits all answers. What an awful thing the victim’s family has to go through the rest of their lives.

    • anonyme November 2, 2023 (3:30 pm)

      FYI, mental health services are difficult to access no matter what kind of insurance you have – or don’t have.  There is an extreme shortage of mental health professionals and even fewer good ones.  The model now (as is the case at Swedish) is brief “counseling” with the emphasis being on referral back to the PCP for medication.  Psychotropic drugs are part of the problem, and definitely not the solution.  Our healthcare system, in general, is in shambles, and mental health is one of the most broken aspects of it.

  • Mark November 2, 2023 (8:59 am)

    Put a Billion-dollar measure on the ballot, fund the homeless complex, or put criminals in prison. Which one will win?

  • Sarcasm November 2, 2023 (11:38 am)

    Incarceration and more police clearly aren’t the answer since the last few years have proven that crime will not get worse when we have less police and less accountability. 

  • Gatewood88 November 2, 2023 (10:44 pm)

    RIP Marcel Wagner. What a terrible, random, unprovoked attack. I feel so bad for his family and for him… a life cut so short at no fault of his own. i wish that guns were not so accessible to young men who commit the vast majority of violent/gun crimes. 

  • Downhill November 2, 2023 (10:52 pm)

    Societies’ standard of what’s truly shameful is so low Rebrand jails & remove profit.  Provide safety to our community that’s been harmed by the hooliganism.  Manual labor that benefits the community. Gives Structure and purpose. After a day’s work they go back to the “nonprofit safe-space formerly known as youth detention centers” for gluten free dinners, evening creative sessions and substance use group nights. until then….carry on with status quo arguments and protect the guns that kill and find “reasons” for the lunatic behavior of these criminals.  Downhill from here folks 

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