An 18-year-old Renton man was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder, accused of firing a sawed-off shotgun into the chest of a Bellevue teen in the parking lot of the AMC Factoria 8 movie theater on July 7, according to King County prosecutors.
Carlos Anthony Espinoza, who commonly goes by his middle name, was arrested Thursday at his home, where police found a hacksaw and the shotgun’s sawed-off barrel in his bedroom along with shotgun shells that matched shells found in his car and at the shooting scene, charging papers say. Police recovered a 12-gauge shotgun purchased in April, less than a month after Espinoza turned 18, on the back seat of his vehicle, a silver Lexus with distinct body damage, according to the charges.
Espinoza was also charged with unlawful possession of a short-barreled shotgun. He remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail, jail records show.
Charging papers refer to the 17-year-old shooting victim by his initials, DTM. A GoFundMe campaign started on behalf of his sister identified him as Daniel Tovar Moreno and says he was in his junior year at Bellevue’s Interlake High School. He had just bought his first car with money he earned working the drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant, according to the post.
Deputy prosecutor Elaine Lee wrote in charging papers that Espinoza shot the 17-year-old at point-blank range.
“Although there were several witnesses nearby wanting to provide aid to the victim who lay there in the middle of the parking lot, they were deterred by the defendant,” who paced between the victim, the victim’s car and his own vehicle several times before driving off “in his silver, dented Lexus sedan,” Lee wrote.
The charges don’t indicate a motive for the shooting. Court records do not yet say which attorney is representing Espinoza.
Bellevue police responded to a report of a shooting at the movie theater complex just after 8:30 p.m. on July 7, charging papers say. They found the 17-year-old with significant injuries to his chest and he was pronounced dead at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.
Two witnesses who had just parked in the AMC lot told investigators they had seen the suspect and witness together; after hearing a gunshot, they saw the victim on the ground and the suspect holding a smoking shotgun, say the charges.
The witnesses’ account was corroborated by video-surveillance footage, which captured the shooting from a distance, according to the charges.
When police contacted the 17-year-old’s family, officers were told that the teen had brought Espinoza around and that Espinoza drove a silver car with body damage, say the charges.
Two other witnesses contacted police after seeing a TV news report about the homicide and said they had been in the AMC parking lot 30 to 60 minutes before the shooting, charging papers say. They saw two males matching the descriptions of the 17-year-old and Espinoza. One of the males, who was wearing a medical boot, was holding a shotgun, which made them uncomfortable, so they left, say the charges, which note Espinoza was wearing a medical boot at the time of his arrest.