Evelyn Zaragoza, 22, survived unscathed after her car was riddled with bullets Thursday as she drove through Kent, police and prosecutors say. She was fatally shot a day later.
King County prosecutors say a Kent man “executed” his ex-girlfriend with a gunshot to her head outside a Federal Way smoke shop, then fled to Oregon, where he was arrested on drug and firearm crimes after he was pulled over for failing to signal a turn.
Erik Guzman Naranjo, 22, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder domestic violence in connection with the death of Evelyn Zaragoza, also 22, in a parking lot in the 32000 block of First Avenue South just before 8:30 p.m. Friday.
He remains jailed in Clackamas County, where he is being held on investigation of unlawful possession of firearms, possession of meth and other charges, according to jail records and the King County Prosecutor’s Office. He has waived extradition to Washington on the murder charge, but he won’t return to Seattle until Oregon decides to release him, a spokesperson said.
According to charging papers, Naranjo and Zaragoza had dated off and on since 2013 and he had a history of physically abusing her, with friends later telling police they’d seen bruises and marks on her body.
Most Read Local Stories
- The time Seattle neighbors sued Howard Schultz and Kurt Cobain's estate over a driveway in a park
- Seattle upzones 27 neighborhood hubs, passes affordable-housing requirements
- Why are people in Seattle homeless?
- 'We lost one of our finest': Kittitas County deputy shot dead Tuesday night was father of three
- No, CBD-infused jelly beans won't get you high. Here's why.
The day before Zaragoza’s death, Naranjo was driving in Kent when he spotted her in another car, according to the charges. Naranjo pulled a U-turn and shot at Zaragoza’s vehicle, striking her car numerous times and nearly shooting her in the head, charging papers say.
The charges don’t say whether the earlier shooting was reported to Kent police, but Federal Way police found bullet holes in Zaragoza’s vehicle after she was killed.
On Friday, Zaragoza and a male friend drove to a Federal Way smoke shop to purchase cigarettes and soda. As Zaragoza returned to her car, she looked behind her and told her friend to lock the doors after she spotted Naranjo.
Zaragoza tried to drive away but fumbled when she tried to put the car in gear as Naranjo approached the vehicle from behind and tried to open the driver’s door, the charges say.
“When he could not open it, he bashed in the window with the butt of the firearm and executed her by shooting her in the left temple,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Adrienne McCoy wrote in charging papers.
Zaragoza’s friend jumped from the car and ran but looked back and saw Naranjo get into the back seat of a black Honda Civic, the charges say.
The friend who was with Zaragoza when she was shot later identified Naranjo as the gunman and told police Naranjo was “a higher ranking member” of a street gang, charging papers say. Cathy Schrock, a Federal Way police spokeswoman, said detectives have since confirmed Naranjo’s gang membership.
Around 2 a.m. Sunday, Naranjo and a male passenger were pulled over in a traffic stop in Lake Oswego, Oregon,after Naranjo failed to signal a turn, charging papers say. He lied about his identity, and officers found a stolen .45-caliber handgun and a 9 mm handgun in his car. Officers also searched Naranjo and found methamphetamines, the charges say.
A Federal Way police detective traveled to Oregon to interview Naranjo, who “broke down and started to cry” after learning Zaragoza was dead, charging papers say.