Search-warrant documents shed new light on the investigation into the Jan. 20 shooting, which left a protester wounded outside a campus hall where Breitbart editor and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was delivering a speech.
A cellphone belonging to the man who claims he shot and wounded another man in self-defense during a demonstration last month at the University of Washington had been wiped clean of data before being seized by police, according to search-warrant documents filed in King County Superior Court.
The warrant obtained by police to search the phone sheds new light on the investigation into the Jan. 20 shooting in Red Square, which occurred outside a campus hall where Breitbart editor and alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was delivering a speech.
The warrant, obtained Jan. 24 by University of Washington police, reveals that a man identified as Marc K. Hokoana, 29, and his wife, Elizabeth, 29, appeared at the UW police station hours after the shooting to report they had been involved in a “self-defense” shooting.
The couple was released and the case remains under investigation, with prosecutors awaiting the results.
The Seattle Times generally does not identify people who have not been charged with a crime.
But the search warrant, for the first time, publicly identifies Hokoana as the shooter in a case that has drawn intense public scrutiny over the violent clash between Yiannopoulos supporters and demonstrators protesting his appearance. It also indicates police are investigating Hokoana for first-degree assault.
Efforts to reach Hokoana were unsuccessful. His wife has previously declined to comment.
Kimberly Gordon, a Seattle defense attorney, said she is representing Marc Hokoana but declined further comment.
The warrant, filed with the court Feb. 9 by Detective Sgt. William Bergin, identifies the victim as Joshua P. Dukes, 34, a computer-security engineer and Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer previously named by The Seattle Times. He suffered life-threatening injuries and underwent surgery at Harborview Medical Center.
Bergin’s sworn affidavit, used to obtain the warrant, states Dukes “was in the crowd of protesters in a physical altercation and was shot in the stomach by an unknown person” about 8:25 p.m.
The suspected shooter left the area, Bergin wrote.
About two hours after the shooting, Hokoana and his wife “walked in to the University of Washington Police Department with their hands up and stated he was there to report a ‘self-defense’ shooting that occurred in Red Square,” the affidavit says.
The warrant, citing probable cause that a criminal assault had been committed, sought to review the contents of Hokoana’s phone, including phone calls, internet searches, text messages, photographs or GPS data from the night of Jan. 20.
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Among other items, it sought “any mention of guns or shooting” or any effort by Hokoana to communicate with “associates or others about or pertaining to the above-listed crime or that provide evidence of motive or state of mind about the above-listed crime,” according to the warrant.
However, an inventory filed by Chuck Pardee, a forensic investigator for the King County Prosecutor’s Office, said nothing was found.
“It appears that the device had gone through a factory reset of some sort prior to it being examined,” he wrote.
His statement does not say when the reset occurred.
The warrant is one of several obtained by police after the shooting. The others remain sealed, including one obtained to search Hokoana’s car.
Police seized the gun — identified in the public warrant as a Glock handgun — in the vehicle’s trunk, according to a law-enforcement source.
The phone — a Samsung Note 7 — was seized at the same time, according to Bergin’s affidavit.
In a written update Tuesday on the investigation, UW police said detectives interviewed the shooting victim a day after the incident and again Jan. 25.
The handgun recovered from a vehicle is among items being analyzed at the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, according to the update.
Witnesses and people who attended the Jan. 20 event have provided detectives with a significant number of video segments, the update said.
“Detectives continue to comb through those videos, timestamping each segment from the various recordings. These efforts will build an accurate and chronological sequence of events from various viewpoints,” the update said.
In addition, detectives recently began working with a private video technician assisting them in the processing of videos and analysis of the information collected so far, the update said.
Videos could play a key role in evaluating the self-defense claim, which adds a complicated element to the investigation. Washington state allows use of force in self-defense whenever it is used by someone “about to be injured,” as long as it is not more force than necessary.
Bergin’s affidavit says Hokoana, after arriving at the UW police station, told detectives the firearm used in the shooting and his cellphone were in his car parked outside. Police impounded the car.
Hokoana, who was handcuffed, placed in a holding cell and read his Miranda rights, “stated that he understood his right and wanted an attorney,” the affidavit says.
Meantime, Bergin returned to the UWPD lobby where Elizabeth Hokoana was waiting with another officer and UW Security Services manager Mike Sletten, according to the affidavit.
“I was informed that Elizabeth wanted to report that she was involved in a ‘self-defense’ shooting and that she had been informed of her rights and wanted an attorney,” Bergin wrote.
The affidavit states Elizabeth Hokoana was sending a text message on her phone when Bergin asked her to stand. He states that he allowed her to finish sending the text and asked a female detective to search her for weapons.
She was then handcuffed, read her Miranda rights and placed in a holding cell, according to Bergin, who described her as “calm, quiet and polite.”
Not long after, Bergin wrote, UWPD Detective Lt. D. Schulz ordered the couple released.
On his Facebook page, Hokoana described himself as a former UW student and was in Red Square to attend the Yiannopoulos speech. He posted that he had been harassed and jostled by crowds of protesters who were trying to disrupt the event and keep people out, according to a post that has since been deleted or restricted, a copy of which was reviewed by The Seattle Times.
At 7:24 p.m., about an hour before the shooting, Hokoana wrote on Yiannopoulos’ Facebook page.
“Hey Milo,” he wrote. “im outside in line to your UW event.
“I got sucker punched (he was a bit limp wristed) and someone jacked my #MAGA hat,” Hokoana wrote, referring to the ubiquitous red and white “Make America Great Again” caps worn by supporters of President Donald Trump.
“Anyway for me to get a replacement signed by you?” Hokoana asked
Yiannopoulos did not respond, and Hokoana became caught up in a confrontation between those trying to get inside Kane Hall to see Yiannopoulos and protesters trying to keep them out.
Just before 8:30 p.m., Hokoana was involved in a scuffle with several people before the shooting occurred.
Hokoana’s Facebook page has indicated he is a supporter of Trump, Yiannopoulos and the National Rifle Association.
Norm Arkans, a UW associate vice president and spokesman, did not directly respond when asked if Hokoana was a current or past student at the school.
“We have no information available on that person,” Arkans said by email.
Dukes remained at Harborview Medical Center on Tuesday in satisfactory condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.
He attended the event to resist Yiannopoulos’ message through “principled protest,” his Seattle attorney, Sarah Lippek, has previously said.
Dukes was an early opponent of the appearance of Yiannopoulos at the UW and worked to organize a resistance among a number of groups, including the IWW and the Capitol Hill Neighborhood Action Coalition, where he posted a link to a document outlining how anti-Yiannopoulos forces had rallied against the Breitbart editor at other colleges where he has appeared.