After a five-hour standoff with a police SWAT team that stretched into Sunday morning, an Auburn-area couple surrendered to police when a police dog was brought to their door, according to Edmonds police.
The two people arrested — a 23-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman — are people of interest in the Feb. 21 fatal shooting of a 7-Eleven clerk at a store off Highway 99, Edmonds police Sgt. Josh McClure said. Both were arrested on warrants issued by the state Department of Corrections (DOC).
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the shooting victim as Nagendiram Kandasamy, 64, of Edmonds.
McClure said at a Monday news conference that detectives pieced together evidence from the shooting scene and tips from the community to locate a white car that had been captured on the store’s video-surveillance footage around the time of the shooting. The car, a white Nissan, was spotted outside a house in the 40100 block of 180th Avenue Southeast on the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation on Saturday. Edmonds police, with the help of neighboring agencies and DOC officers, converged on the residence around 11 p.m., he said.
There were four people inside the house when police arrived, and two of them left the residence while the two targets of the operation refused to leave, McClure said. Police believed the man and woman barricaded inside the home were armed.
After negotiations failed to get them to surrender, members of the North Metro SWAT team fired gas canisters into the house, where the couple was thought to be hiding in the attic, according to McClure.
When that didn’t work, a police dog and its handler joined members of the SWAT team at the door and the dog “made his presence known,” McClure said. It was then that the couple, who are in a dating relationship, surrendered to police around 4 a.m. in the house’s attached garage. Neither was armed at time.
Both have felony convictions and were booked into the Snohomish County Jail around 7:30 a.m. Sunday on DOC warrants for escaping community custody, McClure said. According to McClure and court and jail records, the woman was being supervised on a robbery charge while the man was being supervised on identity theft charges.
The Seattle Times is not identifying the couple because they have not been charged in connection with Kandasamy’s shooting death.
Detectives spent Sunday executing a search warrant at the house, said McClure, who couldn’t say if any weapons were found in the search. The white Nissan was seized as evidence but as of Monday afternoon, detectives had not yet searched it, he said.
“Our detectives have worked tirelessly to get to this point,” said McClure, who said he’s hopeful anyone with information about the couple will feel more comfortable contacting Edmonds police about the homicide investigation now that they are in custody. “I feel we’ve taken a huge step in protecting the safety of the community.”
The Edmonds Police Department tip line can be reached at 425-771-0212; tips can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or through CrimeStoppers.
At the time of Kandasamy’s death, Edmonds police reviewed video-surveillance footage and determined he was shot before dawn by a lone gunman. His body was discovered by a customer just after 5 a.m. Feb. 21.
Later that day, police released a photo of a suspect, a man who had his jacket hood up and his face covered when he entered the store.
Police also released a four-second clip from one of the store’s video-surveillance cameras. The footage shows a man sprinting inside the store with a gun in his hand, leaping onto a counter and pointing the weapon in a two-handed grip at the clerk, who does not appear in the frame.
At the time, police said nothing appeared to have been taken from the store.
McClure confirmed Monday that nothing had been stolen and police don’t know the motive for Kandasamy’s killing.