Tensions between neighbors over parking on a quiet street near Lynnwood escalated Saturday into a shooting that left a Federal Way man dead, police and witnesses said.
The shooting took place just after 11 p.m. on 203rd Street Southwest near Poplar Way, just east of Interstate 5, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. A 27-year-old suspect, who stayed at the scene instead of fleeing after the gunfire, was in custody, the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities had not released the name of the man who died following the “dispute between two houses,” according to a statement by Sheriff’s Lt. David Bowman.
But Tacoma resident Jerry Hill, who identified himself as the victim’s uncle, said his 36-year-old nephew, DeMarcus Bell, was shot after being involved in an argument over a parking place near a house he had been visiting Saturday night.
“Marcus was making his way back into the house” after the dispute had ended, said Hill as he waited outside the police barriers near the shooting scene. “He was in the driveway and he was walking away and they shot him in the back of the head.”
“Over parking,” said Hill, who said he drove up from Tacoma early Sunday morning after being notified of the shooting. “It’s senseless.”
Though police said the man who died was a Federal Way resident, Hill said his nephew was from Tacoma.
Neighbors said the parking issue arose because occupants of a house on Poplar routinely parked in front of neighbors’ homes.
“They have about 10 to 14 cars daily,” said one neighbor. She said the problems had been ongoing for several weeks and had led to numerous arguments, including one that began Saturday around 10:45 p.m “They got into it,” the neighbor said. “And that’s when it started.”
The argument quickly turned into a physical altercation that drew several other people, including one man who had a gun, the neighbor said.
Hill said his nephew worked in a warehouse. He was one of five children and was known in the extended family as “Bubba.”
By late Sunday afternoon, authorities were still doing forensic investigation, which included a drone, as well as more witness interviews, Bowman said. The identity and official cause of death of the man who died will be released later by the county Medical Examiner.
Bowman also mentioned that detectives are conducting interviews outdoors in tents, with easily sanitized tables and chairs, to deter the potential spread of the novel coronavirus.
As officers continued to patrol the crime scene, other neighbors expressed surprise and disbelief at the shooting. “We’ve never had any issue here in the neighborhood,” said Jim Nakour, who lives with his family across Poplar from the crime scene.
But Nakour also wondered whether anxieties over the pandemic and the associated shutdowns and layoffs might have contributed to the dispute.
“With the coronavirus, people have a lot of stress right now,” he said.