King County prosecutors say a group of friends were determined to get back items stolen from a woman’s house near Auburn. One of them is now in jail, charged with breaking into a man’s trailer and shooting him.
King County prosecutors say an Auburn-area woman became so frustrated that deputies hadn’t recovered items stolen from her house a few weeks ago that she enlisted a group of friends to help her retrieve her Xbox and 55-inch flat-screen TV from a man’s home.
One of those friends, Asotoetu Atiulagi, 18, of Auburn, is accused of shooting the man early on Jan. 13. He has been charged with first-degree assault and first-degree burglary and is being held in jail in lieu of $250,000 bail, jail records show.
According to the charges, the woman learned from a relative that items stolen from her home were inside a man’s trailer near Enumclaw. The relative had been inside and took photos, which were then sent to the woman, the charges say.
The woman passed along the information to the King County Sheriff’s Office but didn’t have an exact address, though she knew the man’s name, the charges say.
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“Frustrated with the slow police response to the investigation,” the woman and five friends, including Atiulagi, armed themselves with baseball bats, two BB guns and at least one gun and drove to the man’s home, according to the charges.
Around 1:30 a.m., they knocked on the door but got no response, so Atiulagi crawled through a window, then opened the door for a male accomplice, charging papers say.
The resident, who had been asleep with his girlfriend, heard a noise and on his surveillance monitor spotted people surrounding his trailer. He armed himself with a handgun, threw open his bedroom door and saw two men in his living room, say the charges. When he yelled at the men, Atiulagi fired at least two shots, hitting the man in the chest and pelvis, charging papers say.
Atiulagi and his accomplice ran from the trailer and the entire group sped off in two vehicles, say the charges. The man who had been shot fired toward the departing vehicles but the charges don’t say if either was hit.
The injured man’s girlfriend drove him to the hospital.
The wounded man denied burglarizing the woman’s home. He said he had purchased the TV and Xbox a couple of weeks earlier from an unknown man, the charges say.
The woman who owns the items and another woman in the group were identified by deputies from the home-invasion victim’s surveillance footage, say the charges. When deputies went to talk to them, they recognized Atiulagi from the surveillance footage, charging papers say.
Detectives say Atiulagi acknowledged he shot the man, but claimed he was armed for protection and hadn’t intended to fire at anyone, according to the charges.