King County prosecutors charged a 19-year-old Skyway man with second-degree robbery and second-degree murder on Monday, accusing him of robbing one man at gunpoint and then circling back to the scene to kill a second man who loudly proclaimed that he wouldn’t have allowed himself to be robbed.
Larente Vanga was arrested Thursday in connection with the shooting death of Angelo Pope, 59, early on June 19 in North Seattle, jail and court records show. He remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail. An 18-year-old man, who was also arrested Thursday and booked into jail on investigation of robbery, was to be conditionally released because the case against him is still under review and a charging decision has not been made, said a prosecutor’s spokesman.
“Here, the defendant first robbed a man at gunpoint. After a bystander, Angelo Pope, criticized the defendant for the robbery, the defendant apparently bided his time then exacted retribution for this purported disrespect,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor William Doyle wrote in charging papers.
Vanga is accused of firing a 9-mm handgun five times across Aurora Avenue North, striking Pope once in the chest, the charges say. Pope died at Harborview Medical Center.
According to the charges:
Pope and a 46-year-old man were sitting on a bench, hanging out at a bus stop in the 8400 block of Aurora Avenue North around 11:30 p.m. on June 18. The 46-year-old struck up a conversation with two younger men and invited them to smoke marijuana, but asked one of them to buy rolling papers at a nearby convenience store. After returning from buying the papers, the younger men went around the corner of an auto-detailing business. A young woman joined Pope and the 46-year-old at the bus stop.
The younger men were gone about five minutes and when they came back, one of them pulled out a handgun and demanded the 46-year-old turn over his possessions, which included about $30 in cash, cigarettes and some methamphetamine, according to the charges.
Following the robbery, Pope loudly and repeatedly commented that he wouldn’t have allowed himself to be robbed, and that the robbers would have to kill him to get his money, the charges say. His statements were made within earshot of Vanga and the other young man.
After watching the young men leave the area in a white vehicle, the woman who had joined Pope on the bench noticed the vehicle on the east side of Aurora Avenue North. A couple of minutes later, she saw one of the young men standing across the street, staring at Pope, the charges say. After the man watched Pope for several minutes, the woman told police she heard gunfire and saw Pope collapse to the ground. She told officers the gunman walked off into the darkness.
Police obtained video-surveillance footage from nearby businesses, including the convenience store, and identified Vanga as a potential suspect, the charges say. The 46-year-old robbery victim later identified Vanga from a police photo montage and police say another witness came forward and told detectives Vanga had confessed to killing Pope, according to charging papers.