A dispute over the delivery of fentanyl pills led to a fatal shooting in Kenmore last month, according to prosecutors.

A 23-year-old man, whose last known address is in Bellevue, was arrested Sept. 2 in Snohomish County and was booked into the King County Jail on investigation of homicide and unlawful possession of a firearm, jail and court records show. He remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail, though he was charged Wednesday only with the firearm offense as King County Sheriff’s detectives continue to investigate the circumstances of the homicide, according to the records.

The Seattle Times is not naming the 23-year-old suspect because he has not been charged with murder in the Aug. 29 shooting death of Thomas Labrum Jr., 37, who was allegedly armed with a hatchet when he confronted the younger man inside a house in the 7200 block of NE 149th Place, charging papers say.

Labrum was shot once in the chest and died at the scene, the charges say.

Labrum’s fiancée, who was present at the shooting scene, later told detectives that the 23-year-old had supplied Labrum with pills to sell over the previous two weeks, according to the charges. A few days before Labrum was killed, he’d given the 23-year-old money for more pills but the 23-year-old failed to deliver, refused to refund Labrum’s cash and cut off contact, say the charges.

Earlier on Aug. 29, Labrum and his fiancée learned the 23-year-old was in Bellevue and followed him to a park, where Labrum threatened him with a replica handgun before everyone fled because someone had called police, according to charging papers.


The 23-year-old man — along with his girlfriend, who had also been at the park, and Labrum’s fiancée — all ended up back at the Kenmore residence, where Labrum and the other man briefly spoke by phone. After the call ended, the 23-year-old said something to the effect of, “I’m going back to jail because I am going to have to shoot Thomas,” say the charges.

Labrum arrived at the house and was shot when he entered a downstairs bedroom where the 23-year-old, the two women and two other people had gathered, the charges say. Three of the people told investigators they’d seen Labrum armed with a hatchet, and two of them said the hatchet was raised above his head when he was shot, according to charging papers.

The 23-year-old man fled the scene.

Labrum’s fiancée admitted to detectives she moved the hatchet to another room before police arrived. It was located, along with a shell casing and a spent round that had gone through a wall and was found in a closet, say the charges.

All four witnesses identified the 23-year-old as the shooter. He was released from prison in April after serving 3 1/2 years on robbery, burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, malicious mischief and assault charges and was wanted on warrants for violating conditions of his community custody and illegal possession of a firearm, charging papers say.