CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Guilty plea to reduced charge in deadly Alki shooting

We’re catching up with the files in some long-running criminal cases. First: A reader tipped us that the case of a quadruple shooting at Alki Beach in June 2021, killing one person and injuring three others, has ended in a plea agreement.

(June 2021 photo by David Hutchinson)

Milton Arnold III of Des Moines, now 21, originally was charged with second-degree murder for killing 22-year-old Tilorae Shepherd of Federal Way and two counts of first-degree assault for wounding a man and woman (the fourth victim was a friend of Arnold, hit accidentally). The gunfire followed a confrontation over fireworks, as detailed in our first report on the original charges. At some point Shepherd reportedly displayed a gun but did not pull it. Arnold claimed he fired in self-defense, and prosecutors cited that as the reason for reducing the charges; he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault. He had no prior convictions, and court documents show that last month King County Superior Court Judge Ken Schubert sentenced him to a total of four and a half years in prison. That will include credit for time served since his arrest two and a half years ago.

21 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Guilty plea to reduced charge in deadly Alki shooting"

  • Kelly S December 29, 2023 (12:23 pm)

    Out in two then…..

  • AreYouKiddingMe December 29, 2023 (12:28 pm)

    Well that’s pretty lame. 

  • Rhonda December 29, 2023 (12:37 pm)

    Interesting that there’s no mention of firearms charges as Arnold was illegally in possession of a handgun at his age (under 21), illegally conceal-carrying a pistol without a concealed carry license, etc.

    • Alki resident December 29, 2023 (3:25 pm)

      You don’t need a conceal carry license to own a gun or be in possession of it. 

      • Terry December 29, 2023 (4:41 pm)

        He was under 21 so was breaking the law to be in possession of a handgun. You DO in fact need a concealed pistol license to LEGALLY conceal a handgun on your person or in a vehicle. You DON’T need a concealed pistol license to own a long gun, shotgun or rifle. Additionally Washington is an “open carry” state meaning that an individual can walk down the street carrying a rifle or shotgun as long as it is in plain view. Also I don’t see any mention of if his handgun was stolen.Judge Ken Schubert. Remember his name next election.

      • Daniel December 29, 2023 (5:39 pm)

        Yea specifically: you have to be 21 to buy a handgun (federally), and over 18 to possess one outside of the house (and a few other situations) in WA state.  You have to be over 21 and have a permit to conceal carry, but that’s not easy to prove after the fact so it’s not surprising a prosecutor doesn’t go for that charge.  This whole case is a mess.

  • Brian December 29, 2023 (12:37 pm)

    A self defense claim for a situation created by the people involved is some real tautological reasoning. 

    • Neighbor December 29, 2023 (1:44 pm)

      Fireworks are annoying but that’s not a good reason to display a gun.  Both parties escalated the situation.  If you make a threat with a deadly weapon you should be ready to follow through.  When someone shows a gun the message is clear and this is what happens.  Sad situation for everyone involved but the rest of us can learn a lesson about conflict resolution.

    • AMD December 29, 2023 (3:08 pm)

      There were opportunities for better choices all around, but Arnold’s friend was hurt by one of Shepherd’s friends, Arnold asks them to stop because someone was hurt (defending his friend from threat of ongoing danger), then Shepherd responds to that request (however impolitely made) by brandishing a gun.  The defense was handed to him on a silver platter.

      • alki_2008 December 29, 2023 (6:50 pm)

        @AMD – You have some facts misstated. Shepherd’s female friend was hit in the head with a firework. Shepherd’s male friend and Shepherd confronted Arnold about if Arnold set off the firework. That’s when Shepherd brandished his gun. Later Arnold shot Shepherd fatally and Shepherd’s two friends non-fatally.

  • anonyme December 29, 2023 (2:23 pm)

    Four people were shot, one fatally – so this sentence is essentially one year per shooting.  Less than burglary.  How does this reduce gun violence?

  • Alf December 29, 2023 (2:44 pm)

    After 4 years served in prison the victim will still be deadi detest judges 

  • Kt December 29, 2023 (2:50 pm)

    So Seattle City Attorney Ann Davidson not so tough on crime afterall….

    • WSB December 29, 2023 (4:06 pm)

      She had nothing to do with this case. It is a felony case prosecuted by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

  • Seattlite December 29, 2023 (4:11 pm)

    A couple of curiosity questions:  Was Arnold’s gun stolen or was he the legal owner of the gun?  Did Arnold have a conceal carry permit?  The same questions apple to the deceased (RIP), Shepherd.  If Shepherd “displayed” his gun but did not “pull it,” I wonder why Arnold decided to kill him.  Arnold’s sentence does not seem to fit the crime…It should be longer…much longer.

    • AMD December 29, 2023 (6:15 pm)

      Cops kill people for showing them a weapon, or even just reaching in a way that suggests they might have one, and they get medals for bravery.  Brandishing a weapon at someone can be perceived as a threat.  Arnold still got time, and he’s going to have to deal with the consequences of a felony on his record for probably ever, but it’s reasonable to conclude he felt threatened when shown the weapon.

    • Daniel December 29, 2023 (7:03 pm)

      No idea if it was stolen or legal.  Could hypothetically be legal if gifted.  I’d guess not but who knows.  Not easy to prove without the defendant literally admitting it.  Arnold definitely did not have a conceal carry license, because he was under 21.  It’s a misdemeanor either way (no permit, or underage), so maybe didn’t seem worth the prosecutor’s time instead of the murder / assault charges.  It’s irrelevant whether Shepherd has a permit, because it’s a license to conceal, not threaten death.  So even if he did, it wouldn’t real change the facts of the case at all either way.  Threatening someone with a gun, pulled or not, is arguably an imminent threat of death or great bodily harm, which is generally the metric for self defense in almost every state in the US.  So that’s probably why the prosecutor didn’t think they could stick with a murder charge.  But getting into the confrontation in the first place, or shooting additional people after that… it’s just dumb all around.

  • flimflam December 29, 2023 (4:40 pm)

    Seems like almost all sentences lean towards giving less time and reducing charges. Maybe  wrong but not sure how any of that helps keep the public safe.

  • WSEA-resident December 29, 2023 (6:43 pm)

    Arnold is a hardened dangerous murderer who only got 4 years for this murder as well as putting dozens of people at Alki in grave danger. It’s important to remember outcomes of cases like this when choosing your elected officials. Here’s some background on Arnold from WSBs previous coverage  … 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.

  • Kyle December 29, 2023 (10:02 pm)

    This feels like a bad plea deal for the public. Need better prosecutors in the next election if this is all they can do for four people shot and one person murdered.

  • Hey Johnny January 3, 2024 (1:21 am)

    That is way too short time to be in prison for another person’s life. Not enough time to fully change your ways. Second, it sets a bad precedence for the neighborhood where more young men will think it’s okay to flap their guns for fun after drinking and taking their substances causing, not being in their right mind with weapons they illegally possess! We have the problems we have because there’s no consequences or enough time to change! 

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