A 30-year-old Renton woman was arrested in Tacoma Monday night, two weeks after she is accused of fatally shooting a friend in a Renton homeless encampment with a high-powered pellet gun used to hunt rats, according to King County prosecutors.
Kelcey Gornowich, who goes by the name “Loki,” was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder and is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, jail and court records show.
Gornowich is accused of shooting 27-year-old Rylee Russell Marks in the chest with a Daisy Powerline 1000 pellet gun, which charging papers say can fire a .177-caliber pellet up to 1,000 feet per second. The pellet Marks was shot with entered his chest between his ribs and pierced his heart, the charges say.
According to the charges:
Renton officers were called to a sprawling lot in the 13200 block of 89th Avenue South just before 12:30 p.m. on Feb. 16. The lot is strewn with junk cars, travel trailers, shipping containers and tents and is a long-term homeless encampment well known to police. Police had contacted Gornowich there several time since at least 2018, the charges say.
Officers and medics arrived but failed to save Marks, who died at the scene. By then, Gornowich had fled the encampment where she lived in a tent, leaving behind all of her possessions.
Witnesses told officers that before the shooting, Marks arrived at the encampment and was intoxicated and yelling loudly. Gornowich, who had been friends with Marks since 2007, was apparently angry and frustrated with Marks and told him to leave the encampment, firing at least two warning shots. Marks was gathering his belongings when Gornowich fired a third shot, striking him in the chest, the charges say. He collapsed next to a fire pit. The witnesses identified Gornowich as the shooter and later selected her photo from a police photo montage.
Police obtained a warrant and searched Gornowich’s tent, where they found a pellet rifle and a container of lead pellets, the charges say.
Following Gornowich’s arrest outside a Tacoma pharmacy this week, police say she blamed others for not making Marks leave the encampment and claimed he walked into her line of fire, charging papers say.
Gornowich told investigators she went on the run and did not turn herself in to police because she was afraid to go to jail, a detective wrote in the charges.