A 24-year-old Burien man was ordered held for investigation of second-degree murder Thursday. He is accused of fatally shooting his childhood friend while apparently high on PCP.
Larry Thomas Jr. couldn’t tell Seattle homicide detectives what prompted him to fatally shoot his childhood friend early Wednesday as the two men, along with two others, were driving north on Rainier Avenue South.
There were no disagreements and no harsh words exchanged between Thomas, 23, and his friend, 24-year-old Joseph “JoJo” Barber, says a statement of probable cause outlining the police case against Thomas.
Thomas, a Burien resident, could only surmise that his use of the powerful hallucinogen PCP influenced his decision to fire multiple shots at Barber, who died in the back seat of a white Toyota Camry, the statement says.
On Thursday, a King County District Court judge found probable cause to hold Thomas for investigation of second-degree murder and set bail at $400,000, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
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Thomas’ girlfriend, who was driving the Camry, called 911 at 12:04 a.m. Wednesday, reported that someone had been shot inside her car, then hung up, the statement says.
A 911 dispatcher was able to identify the location of the woman’s cellphone, and officers responded to the 1300 block of Rainier Avenue South, just north of Interstate 90, where they found a vehicle stopped in the northbound lane, according to the statement.
“Thomas told officers they should arrest him” and admitted to shooting Barber with a revolver, which Thomas had tossed into some nearby ivy, the statement says. He also told officers “he is high on PCP,” it says.
Thomas was arrested, the gun was recovered, and Barber — who suffered numerous gunshot wounds to his upper torso and arms — was declared dead by medics who were summoned to the scene, the statement says.
Thomas, Barber and another friend were at a residence in Skyway on Tuesday night, where they smoked marijuana and PCP-laced cigarettes, the statement says. The three went to a nearby grocery store where they bumped into Thomas’ girlfriend and decided to drive to a nightclub in Seattle, it says.
Barber and the other male got in the back seat while Thomas rode in the front passenger seat, the statement says. They “were just driving along with nothing in particular going on” when Thomas pulled out a revolver and fired at Barber, who Thomas later described as “a close friend since childhood,” according to the statement.
The third man left the scene before police arrived, the statement says.
“Through repeated and extensive questioning, Larry Thomas could (not) or would not say why he shot JoJo multiple times,” the statement says. “They had no disagreement tonight or in the past. JoJo did not say or do anything to prompt the shooting. He would only refer to his use of the PCP as a possible cause of his decision to shoot JoJo.”
PCP, also known as angel dust, is a hallucinogen that is also known to cause violent and suicidal behavior, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.