Kent police have arrested a 23-year-old Kent man in connection with the killing of a 38-year-old man police say leaped onto the back of his truck as it was being carjacked on Monday and was found dead in it the next day.
Kent police announced the arrest in a Facebook post on Wednesday. The department said another man they had identified as a person of interest, whose photo was previously released, is cooperating with investigators and was not involved in the incident.
The 23-year-old suspect, who was booked into King County Jail around 3 a.m. Wednesday, is not being named because he has not yet been charged in connection with the case. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.
The victim, 38-year-old Jered Sperling, died of a gunshot wound to his neck, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, which ruled the death a homicide.
Police said Sperling had been at the East Hill Storage facility in the 10600 block of Southeast 240th Street on Monday evening when an attacker forced his way into Sperling’s pickup near the front gate.
As the attacker drove off, Sperling leaped onto the bed of the truck to try to stop him, said Assistant Chief Jarod Kasner of Kent Police.
Marquis Sims, who knew Sperling, told KIRO 7 it’s not a surprise Sperling would try to save his truck.
“I just think he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t want any — I mean, he works hard for his stuff, and anybody who works hard for their stuff don’t want nobody to take it,” Sims told KIRO.
On Tuesday, police released pictures of Sperling and his truck. Shortly afterward, the truck was found abandoned in the parking lot of the Cascade Homes apartment complex, with Sperling’s body in it. The parking lot was about 2½ miles from the scene of the carjacking.
Police then released photographic stills from surveillance video with images of two people of interest, one of whom they now say is no longer a person of interest in the case.
The suspect arrested in connection to the fatal carjacking has been convicted of possession of a stolen vehicle twice in King County, once in 2016 and again in 2017, according to court documents.
He has been under state Department of Corrections supervision since September 2017, which was set to end June 30 barring any new charges, according to a department spokeswoman.
The man was charged with possession of a stolen vehicle in King County again in December. A bench warrant was issued against him in March after he failed to report to community corrections, which was a condition of his release, according to court records.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this story.
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