A man in his 40s who moved to West Seattle from California a couple of weeks ago got in his car on Sunday afternoon to grab a coffee at Alki Beach when a man he’d never seen before stepped in front of his vehicle, forcing the driver to stop in an alley behind his apartment building, according to King County prosecutors.
The stranger pointed a gun at the driver and ordered him to raise his arms, which the driver did, thinking he was about to be robbed. That’s when Seattle police say the stranger opened fire, shooting the driver at least six times without saying another word.
Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Garrett Heinemann, who will turn 36 on Friday, with first-degree assault in connection with the shooting and first-degree burglary for allegedly entering a couple’s ground-floor apartment and attempting to pistol-whip the male resident as he fled the shooting scene.
Heinemann, who was arrested less than 30 minutes after the shooting, remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail, jail and court records show. He does not appear to have any prior criminal convictions.
Court records do not indicate which attorney is representing Heinemann.
According to the charges:
The shooting victim moved into an apartment building in the 2700 block of 60th Avenue Southwest on Nov. 15. His building is next door to the apartment building where Heinemann lives.
Around 12:35 p.m. Sunday, a man who lives in the same building as the shooting victim was looking out his south-facing, sliding-glass door when he saw a neighbor he knew as Heinemann moving around the neighboring buildings with a pistol in his hand and peering around corners as if he was looking for someone, the charges say.
The neighbor watched as Heinemann put out his left hand to stop the driver of a newer Toyota Corolla from proceeding down the alley. The neighbor witnessed Heinemann fire six shots into the Toyota’s windshield, then saw Heinemann run east between the apartment buildings and over a fence and hedge, according to the charges.
After the shooting, the Toyota’s driver got out of the car and walked toward the neighbor, who could see the other man had been shot in the neck, the charges say. The driver told him, “He tried to kill me,” and the neighbor told the driver that 911 was being called.
The driver later told police he walked toward 60th Avenue Southwest, where several people ran to help him before a police officer arrived and tended to gunshot wounds to his neck and arms. The man said he remembered being loaded into an ambulance, then woke up at Harborview Medical Center after undergoing surgery.
The charges say the driver was shot six times and will need additional surgeries before he can be released from the hospital.
A couple who live on the ground floor of the victim’s apartment building told police a man armed with a gun ran through their unlocked sliding-glass door, swore at them, and began hitting the male resident in the head with the gun. The woman noticed the weapon’s magazine was missing before the assailant ran into their bedroom and out the window. Police later found an empty handgun magazine near the couple’s porch, the charges say
Several other people called 911 to report the shooting and the gunman’s name, clothing description and location as he ran toward Alki Beach and hid behind the Statue of Liberty according to the charges. Police arrested the man about 1½ blocks from the shooting scene and recovered a .40-caliber handgun from the water.
Police determined that the gun, purchased in April 2012 from a Tulalip sporting goods store, was registered to Heinemann, who also had a concealed pistol license, say the charges.
Investigators recovered 10 shell casings from the ground around the Toyota; five gunshots were fired through the windshield and six more shots were fired into the rear passenger-side window toward the driver.
Detectives tried to interview Heinemann about the shooting but he did not acknowledge understanding his Miranda rights so was transported and booked into the King County Jail, say the charges.