A gunman had followed Dennis Sloboda to a Federal Way apartment Monday night, his brother said, and later the victim was fatally shot in his car on Hoyt Road Southwest, about five minutes away.
About an hour before Dennis Sloboda, 33, was shot to death in his car Monday in Federal Way, he was worried about his safety, his brother said.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Anton Sloboda, 30, said his brother arrived at his apartment about 9 p.m. Monday and immediately asked if Anton had a gun.
Anton Sloboda said his brother explained he had cut someone off while driving to the hospital to see his wife, who had given birth to a boy days earlier.
Then, when they came to a stop sign or light, “the other guy pulled out a gun,” he said.
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Dennis Sloboda said he fled but was followed to his brother’s Federal Way apartment. Once there, Dennis Sloboda, also a Federal Way resident, looked out the window and saw the gunman outside.
“I looked and I could see the guy he was talking about, but he left when he saw me,” the brother said.
Anton Sloboda said he thought it was “ridiculous” a road-rage incident could escalate so much, but assumed the other man would give up and go away. He said he did not give his brother a gun.
Instead he urged his brother to stay for a while, have something to eat and watch a movie, which they did, he said.
He said his brother — who had gotten married in March and was working two jobs: fixing cars with another brother and working as a driver for a ride-service company — left about 10 p.m., headed to the hospital.
But when Anton Sloboda called his sister-in-law at the hospital about 1 a.m., she told him her husband had never shown up.
“She looked at the (GPS) on his cellphone and saw that he looked like he was in the street,” he said. “I went down there, but the police would not let me get close. They said I had to go to talk to the detectives.”
He said his brother, the second of seven brothers who immigrated to the U.S. from Belarus in 1998, had been shot in the head through the back of his car.
Police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said shots were reported at 10:30 p.m. and the victim was found in the 32800 block of Hoyt Road Southwest, about a five-minute drive from where his brother lived.
She said Dennis Sloboda was involved in “some type of road-rage incident that began in northeast Tacoma while he drove into Federal Way. The exact circumstances are still under investigation.”
She said police are not yet releasing a description of the suspect or vehicle.
Sloboda’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with expenses.
The deadly shooting is the city’s fourth unsolved homicide since May, when three people were killed in a two-day period.
On May 9, Alex J. Kelley, 26, of Seattle, was smoking on a porch when he was killed at a Federal Way apartment complex in the 1300 block of Southwest Campus Drive. He died from a gunshot wound to the torso.
The next day, Frank Cohens Jr., a Tacoma man, was found slumped over in a parked car in the 2200 block of South 333rd Street. He died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to investigators.
Later that night, Adam Gutierrez, 30, of Federal Way, was out running with his dog when he was shot multiple times in the 1800 block of Southwest 356th Street.
Two teenagers also were fatally shot in separate incidents in Federal Way between February and April.
On Feb. 13, 16-year-old Wesley Gennings was shot in the back of the head during an apparent marijuana robbery while seated in his car in the Taco Bell parking lot at 2130 Southwest Campus Drive. Two teenage acquaintances of Gennings have been charged in the murder.
Jeffrey McLaren Jr., 19, was found fatally shot April 3 at The Cove Apartments, 33131 First Ave. S.W., about two months after he was involved in a deadly shooting in Tacoma.
According to a search warrant, McLaren had fatally shot Dylan Lee Oman, 18, in Tacoma in January after Oman tried to shoot McLaren in an “ambush-style attack.” McLaren fired first, and Pierce County prosecutors determined he acted in self-defense and was not charged.
Federal Way, a city of about 94,000 residents, had a total of four homicides in 2015, according to crime statistics compiled by the FBI.