Two men have been charged with assault for an attack on a Seattle couple near a homeless encampment on July 27 that prosecutors said led to a fatal collision with a pedestrian.
The couple, whose car had been broken into the night before, put their 2-week-old baby in the back seat and went looking for their belongings at several nearby encampments, according to King County prosecutors. At one, they found some of their items, then were attacked with machetes, poles and rocks, prosecutors said.
As the couple fled, according to police and prosecutors, they struck bystander Zachery J Reou, a resident of the nearby encampment, critically injuring him. Reou, 30, died later that day.
“It’s incredibly frustrating to feel like your things are right there and want to say, ‘That’s mine. Give it back,'” said Casey McNerthney, a spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. “But it rarely works out well.”
In documents filed in King County Superior Court, prosecutors said the couple had found two items they believed belonged to them, a pair of shoes and a JBL Bluetooth speaker, at an encampment near the intersection of Dexter Avenue North and Mercer Street.
The Seattle Times has chosen to omit the names of the couple, as no charges have been filed against them.
“When they were attempting to take control of the speaker they were
confronted by the group,” prosecutors wrote in the charging documents.
Prosecutors said that as they tried to leave, the couple was attacked by some residents of the encampment with fists, wooden poles, machetes and rocks.
Two of the alleged attackers, Mario J. Miller, 53, and John Henry Rosser IV, 39, were both charged Tuesday with second-degree assault.
According to prosecutors’ account, while the driver was out of the car, Miller hit him with a 5-foot wooden pole and threw a rock at the front windshield.
Rosser tried to hit the couple with the machete as they attempted to get in the car and drive away, and hit the front and back windshields as well as the rear passenger side where the baby was sitting, police and prosecutors said.
As the couple drove away, they struck and fatally wounded Reou.
Police were originally called to investigate the collision as a hit-and-run, but after an investigation that included viewing video surveillance, chose not to forward charges against the couple, prosecutors said.