When Hiram Figueroa intervened to break up a fight between his 20-year-old daughter and another young woman in an Auburn park last week, King County prosecutors say a 19-year-old Puyallup man pulled a gun and started firing.

The 49-year-old father, who was shot multiple times and took several rounds to the back, died in the emergency room at Harborview Medical Center the night of June 18, according to prosecutors.

David Villalobos-Denning was arrested at his Puyallup home two days later and was charged Thursday with second-degree murder in connection with Figueroa’s death, court records show. Because he has a past felony conviction and isn’t legally allowed to have guns, Villalobos-Denning is also charged with first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail.

David Villalobos-Denning, of Puyallup. (Department of Corrections)
David Villalobos-Denning, of Puyallup. (Department of Corrections)

In charging documents, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Petersen cited Villalobos-Denning’s criminal history, rapid recidivism and violent conduct as arguments for the high bail amount. She said Villalobos-Denning was released from prison in January after he was sentenced last year for his role in an assault on a group of strangers in West Seattle.

Several of the 19-year-old’s prior convictions happened when he was a juvenile, court records show.

According to court records in the 2019 case, Villalobos-Denning and a co-defendant were initially charged with first-degree robbery, accused of beating two men and stealing their car, but in an agreement with prosecutors, they each pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. Villalobos-Denning was sentenced in November to serve 1 year and 1 day in prison, with credit for time already served in the King County Jail, the records say.

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In a memorandum filed just before his sentencing hearing, Villalobos-Denning’s defense attorney wrote that his client had fallen in with the wrong crowd, deeply regretted his actions and planned to complete his education and get a job upon his release from prison.

“He has his whole life ahead of him and he wants nothing more than never to step foot in a jail or prison again,” defense attorney Will Court wrote in the memo. “This first experience in the adult justice system has been a true wake-up call for Mr. Villalobos-Denning. He has learned his lesson and will never engage in this sort of behavior again.”

Released from the Washington Corrections Center in Shelton on Jan. 6, Villalobos-Denning has since been on active community supervision by the state Department of Corrections (DOC), according to a DOC spokeswoman and court records.

Figueroa’s family has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help cover the cost of his funeral.

According to the charges filed Wednesday:

Figueroa’s daughters, ages 17 and 20, along with a 16-year-old family friend, were involved in a confrontation on June 17 with an 18-year-old woman, a 20-year-old man and Villalobos-Denning at Cascade Middle School in Auburn. Court documents say Villalobos-Denning kicked the 16- and 17-year-old girls in the face.

“The scene was chaotic, police were called but those involved did not wish to cooperate with police,” an Auburn police detective wrote in charging papers.

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The next day, Figueroa’s daughters and their 16-year-old friend all received multiple calls and social media messages from the 18-year-old woman, and possibly another teen girl, who allegedly challenged the daughters to a “legit,” one-on-one fight — and said if they refused, someone would “shoot up” their house.

Figueroa and his wife didn’t want the girls to go, but then agreed to accompany them to Brannan Park in the 1000 block of 28th Street Northeast in hopes of settling the quarrel without a fistfight.

When they arrived at the park, there was already a group of teens and young adults waiting: Figueroa’s 20-year-old daughter fought with the 18-year-old woman from the previous night’s fight while her sister squared off against another 17-year-old girl, the charges say.

Figueroa’s wife confronted Villalobos-Denning after he was pointed out as the person suspected of kicking two of the girls in the face the night before — and he reportedly stuck a gun in the mother’s face, telling her to back up. She did, and alerted Figueroa, who also confronted the younger man and called him names.

That confrontation was over and the parties all backed off. Then, as the young women continued fighting, Figueroa pushed the 18-year-old off his older daughter in an attempt to break up the fight.

That’s when, charges allege, Villalobos-Denning pulled out a handgun and started firing at Figueroa from 20 feet away — and kept firing as Figueroa fell to the ground.

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Several people called 911 and police arrived at the park just before 7 p.m. As people fled the area, an Auburn police officer set up at the intersection of I Street Northeast and 28th Street Northeast, a block west of the park, in an attempt to stop people from leaving.

The 16-year-old family friend drove up to that officer and told him Figueroa, who was in the front passenger seat, had been shot and needed aid.

Figueroa died from his injuries soon after arriving at Harborview. The King County Medical Examiner’s Office determined he died from multiple gunshot wounds and ruled his death a homicide.

Villalobos-Denning was identified as the shooting suspect, and several witnesses selected his photo from a police photo montage, the charges say.

Detectives later learned one teen girl had been shot in the buttocks but have not identified a second girl who was reportedly shot in the leg, according to the charges.