Seattle police arrested a 26-year-old suspect Sunday afternoon in downtown Seattle in connection with the fatal shooting of two young men in the city’s Central District earlier in the day.
The identities of the victims were still unknown Sunday night. But their alleged killer, Matalepuna Malu, was arrested Sunday afternoon as he stood outside police headquarters, preparing to turn himself in, according to Assistant Chief Nick Metz, who arrested him.
Metz was entering the front door of police headquarters at about 4:15 p.m. when he recognized Malu standing on the sidewalk with several other people. Metz approached Malu, who confirmed his identity, the assistant chief said.
Police say officers responded to reports of gunfire at 2:22 a.m. Sunday in the area of South King Street and 29th Avenue South. When they arrived, they found the two victims lying in the street.
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Fire Department medics pronounced the two men dead at the scene. The men, both in their 20s, were not carrying identification, police said
Witnesses reported seeing a black or silver vehicle fleeing the area. Police later credited the public with helping them to quickly identify the suspect.
The shootings were the area’s second deadly gun assault in as many months, police said.
After the arrest, Metz, along with Mayor Ed Murray and Interim Chief Harry Bailey, walked the neighborhood to assure residents there would be immediate changes to improve visibility in the neighborhood.
Murray said Seattle City Light soon will be installing new streetlights along 29th Avenue South. City crews also will be cutting back trees and bushes along the sidewalks.
Malu is no stranger to law enforcement.
Everett police investigated him in connection with the slaying of a 22-year-old man in Everett in August 2010, but he was later released and never charged.
Malu is now under federal supervision after being sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2011. Malu is linked to a gang distributing OxyContin in the Everett area, U.S. District Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a 2011 news release.
“He continued to live a life marked by drug abuse, drug trafficking, violence and illegal weapons possession,’’ federal prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
“Barely six months later, he violently assaulted his girlfriend, which was merely the latest in a string of violent incidents over the course of his life. When officers responded, they found drugs, drug paraphernalia, ammunition, and the gun that belonged to that empty gun box found in his room six months earlier,” according to the sentencing report.
Malu is also being investigated to determine if he violated his federal supervision because of an alleged assault case in August in Snohomish County. Malu denied he violated the supervision, court records show.
He is now facing a harassment charge in Snohomish County and posted $10,000 bail in November. It’s unknown if it’s related to the assault case.
Christine Willmsen: 206-464-3261 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @christinesea.