John Thomas Davis had grown increasingly frustrated and angry about increasing crime that he blamed on the homeless before the deadly shooting in the Licton Springs neighborhood. King County prosecutors said.
King County prosecutors say a Seattle man, angered by increased crime in his neighborhood that he attributed to the homeless, fatally shot a 26-year-old man last week who he suspected had broken one of his apartment windows months earlier.
John Thomas Davis, 55, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder, accused of confronting Daniel Alberto in a North Seattle street on Thursday and shooting him once in the chest, charging papers say. Davis – who claimed he fired in self-defense – is jailed in lieu of $1 million bail, according to the charges and jail records.
“Davis has harbored significant animosity towards the victim Alberto and the local homeless community for months … Davis was fixated on exacting consequences on the man who broke his window, Alberto, and made statements on several occasions that he might have to take matters into his own hands with regard to fighting crime,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jason Simmons wrote in charging papers.
Alberto’s housing status is unclear. As of July 2017, court records indicate he was living in an apartment in Shoreline. The owner and manager of the Licton Springs Tiny House Village, less than a half-mile south of the shooting scene, confirmed that Alberto was not a resident there.
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Davis lives in Ravenna, less than three miles from the scene of the shooting.
Before the fatal shooting, the charges say Davis had apparently confronted people while armed. Prosecutors also say he had been warned more than once by Seattle police officers and dispatchers that “he should refrain from hostilely confronting individuals whom he found bothersome” and call 911 instead.
In at least one instance, Davis searched out and followed a man he had earlier reported to police for trespassing on his property, and then called 911, told a dispatcher he had a gun and said he had to proactively seek out criminals as a form of self-defense, the charges say. The dispatcher was able to persuade him to go home and wait for officers there.
Soon after that incident, Davis called 911 on July 28 to report that one of his windows had been broken by a local homeless person, prosecutors say. Over the next few weeks, Davis repeatedly called police about the broken window, the charges say. On Aug. 11, Davis called police to report that he had photographed the person who had broken his window.
The person in the photos was later identified as Alberto, the charges say.
In the week before the shooting, Davis had gone to the Fremont Fellowship Hall on Aurora Avenue North, where he complained about his broken window and mentioned to staff that he wanted to try to have the suspect arrested, according to the charges.
Just before 5 p.m. Thursday, Davis was apparently on his way back to the hall to ask a staff member to provide a statement to police when he spotted Alberto on Nesbit Avenue North, just south of North 90th Street, which is about 100 yards from the hall on Aurora, the charges say.
Davis later told detectives he stopped to confront Alberto and his car was in park, with the emergency brake on and both front windows rolled down, say charging papers.
Davis claimed he spoke to Alberto through the front passenger window and Alberto threatened Davis, then circled around the front of Davis’ car and came to the driver’s side window armed with a knife, according to the charges. Claiming he feared for his life, Davis fired once and drove about a block before calling 911, the charges say.
But a surveillance video obtained by police showed that Alberto never walked in front of Davis’ car or physically prevented Davis from leaving, and Davis also slowly moved his car forward several times during the confrontation, the charges say. The video also shows Alberto was on the driver’s side of Davis’ car when the two men spoke, then Alberto walked behind Davis’ car toward the Fellowship Hall but then turned back “as if something suddenly called his attention to the car,” the charges say.
“Alberto then turned and walked to Davis’ front passenger window and was immediately shot,” according to the charges, which say the shot is heard on the video.
Detectives found a small knife near Alberto’s body, the charges say.
Seattle Times staff reporter Scott Greenstone contributed to this story.
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