King County prosecutors have charged a 21-year-old man with murder in connection to a shooting in Pioneer Square early New Year’s morning.
Sabbona Adam Waqo was charged with second-degree murder with a firearm on Monday, according to charging documents. He remains in King County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail, according to jail records.
Prosecutors believe Waqo fired into a group of people with an extended-capacity magazine and struck a man, 24-year-old Teshome Malle, then shot him again in the back. Officers on patrol in Occidental Square said they witnessed the shooting and arrested Waqo nearby. According to charging documents, which don’t detail a potential motive, Waqo told detectives he had memory loss from drinking that night.
“The defendant’s actions in this case demonstrate clearly that he is a threat to the public, as multiple people were nearby when he fired repeatedly at the victim, killing him,” senior deputy prosecuting attorney Terence Carlstrom wrote in charges.
Officers heard multiple shots in a parking lot near Occidental Square around 1:20 a.m. Surveillance video shows a group of people in front of a car in the lot. A person then points a gun at the group and a muzzle flash can be seen, according to police. The group scattered as Malle fell to the ground. In the video, police said, the gunman shot Malle in the back as he tried to get up.
Malle suffered multiple gunshot wounds and later died at Harborview Medical Center. Police said they found Malle with a gun in his hand. Casings found at the scene came from two separate handguns, but did not match the gun in Malle’s hand, police said.
Officers who ran to the scene said they saw a man shoot at a man on the ground multiple times and run away, according to charges. They chased the man down an alley and into a construction site, where an officer said he heard the sound of metal objects hitting each other, which he believed to be the suspect discarding a gun. Police arrested Waqo inside the construction site and said they located a handgun nearby, according to charges.
Police said Waqo told them he didn’t have a gun and wanted to be checked for gunshot wounds, since he was standing next to the man who was shot. He told police his memory was spotty and that he had never had as much to drink as he did that night, according to police.
Police took Waqo to Harborview Medical Center to obtain a blood sample and booked him into jail.
Waqo is scheduled to next appear in court on Jan. 16.