A year after an attempted home-invasion robbery, a couple live in fear for their family's safety. The body of one of the suspects was found in Lake Washington, but no one knows the fate of the second man.
Blood gushed from a wound behind Dr. Craig McAllister’s left ear. He crumpled, dazed from being hit with the butt of a gun.
A man with a .45-caliber pistol stood over McAllister, who lay in his driveway bracing for a bullet.
But the man didn’t shoot. Likely realizing police were on their way, he and his accomplice jogged off into the night.
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In the year since the March 26 attempted home invasion at their lakefront home on Holmes Point near Kirkland, McAllister and his wife, Stacey Castleberry, have pieced together a bizarre, true-crime story that’s only partially solved:
They now know the man with the gun was Gary C. Krueger, 62, an ex-Seattle-cop-turned-bank-robber who investigators believe drowned in Lake Washington that March night, although his body wasn’t found until months later. But searches in the lake for the second man, John A. Bradshaw, 65, have turned up nothing.
The couple also don’t know why they were targeted or what the two men — who brought along zip ties, duct tape and extra ammunition — might have done if they had managed to get inside their house.
Investigators with the King County Sheriff’s Office say the men targeted the couple. But detectives were only able to turn up “an obtuse, two- or three-times-removed connection” between the orthopedic surgeon and his wife and the would-be home invaders, according to spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart, who declined to disclose the connection.
McAllister, 53, said he won’t stop fearing for his family’s safety until the mystery of Bradshaw’s fate is put to rest.
“We’re functioning as if Bradshaw is alive and he’s coming back,” he said. “It’s just safer to function that way … than to let our guard down.”
“Stay on the ground”
On the night of the attack, McAllister and his eldest son, Ryan, a college student on spring break, arrived home from the airport around 10:30 p.m. They parked on the street because their driveway was blocked by a load of bark mulch delivered that day.
As they approached the house, “this guy pops up between the garage door and the bark mulch,” McAllister said. He later learned the man was Bradshaw: Dressed all in black, he calmly told McAllister he had a gun and that no one would get hurt if they cooperated.
McAllister lunged for the man’s throat, and Ryan took off running to a neighbor’s house to call 911. McAllister’s wife and the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Lauren, were inside the house, oblivious to what was going on outside.
McAllister landed on top of Bradshaw and began punching him “as fast and furious” as he could. “He’s got a stun gun, and he’s zapping me with it,” McAllister said.
McAllister says he was getting the upper hand when Krueger came around the corner of the house and pistol-whipped McAllister from behind.
“I remember saying to them, ‘All right, all right, you got me,’ ” McAllister said.
One of the men went to the front door and tried kicking it in. Castleberry, 52, went to answer it.
“As soon as I opened the door, I saw this man dressed from head to toe in black and he was yelling at me,” she said. “I immediately slammed the door, dead-bolted it and called 911.”
Back outside, the two men tried to persuade McAllister to let them in the house. When he refused, Krueger pointed the gun at him, McAllister said.
But that’s when they said, “all right, we don’t have a way out of here,” McAllister said. They demanded his car keys — but, as McAllister reached into his pocket, he realized his house key was on the same ring. So he lied and told them Ryan had the keys.
“They kind of mumbled to themselves and said, ‘You stay on the ground. We’re leaving.’ I could see them gallop up the driveway and down the road,” he said.
McAllister stumbled inside and learned that his son and wife both had called 911 and sheriff’s deputies were arriving in the neighborhood. But the sheriff’s search, which included a K-9 team and a helicopter equipped with heat-seeking equipment, failed to turn up either man.
One body found
A week after the attempted home invasion, Krueger’s wife, Betty, filed a missing-person report with the Sheriff’s Office.
In July, DNA found on a stocking cap that McAllister tore from the head of one of his attackers was matched to Bradshaw. In mid-September, Krueger’s body was found floating in Lake Washington.
Sheriff’s officials soon found a 9-foot aluminum skiff that had been stolen from one of McAllister’s neighbors partially submerged in the lake, Urquhart said. Inside the boat was a duffel bag with the duct tape, zip ties and extra ammo.
Urquhart said he believes it is unlikely that Bradshaw is still alive.
“Of course, it’s possible,” he said. “But they went in the water in March in the middle of the night. You’d have to be a pretty good swimmer” to make it across the north end of Lake Washington to shore.
Still, McAllister wonders if Bradshaw was even in the boat with Krueger. The neighbor whose boat was stolen later told McAllister that he’d only seen one set of shoe prints near his dock.
“It’s very, very strange,” Urquhart said of the case. “Burglars aren’t usually old guys with criminal records as long as your arm.”
While little is known about Bradshaw, details of Krueger’s life are described in the missing-person report, news stories, court documents and other records. Efforts to contact Betty Krueger were not successful. Her daughter, Kim Kauffman, declined to be interviewed.
A 1967 graduate of Seattle’s Lincoln High School, Krueger joined the Seattle Police Department in 1969.
In 1974, the city paid a $3,000 settlement to a 19-year-old man who accused Krueger and another officer of beating him in a police parking garage. Three years later, Krueger fatally shot a 31-year-old man who had attempted to stab him in the chest with a steak knife.
Krueger retired from the department in the early 1980s after injuring his back during a foot pursuit and turned to robbing banks: In 1987, he pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon for a bank robbery in Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor. In 2001, he twice robbed an Issaquah bank while armed with a pellet gun and was sentenced to more than four years in federal prison. He was released in December 2004.
According to the missing-person report, he was broke and desperate for money. His wife filed for bankruptcy the day after his body was found, court records show.
The extent of Bradshaw’s criminal history isn’t clear. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to an arson charge in King County Superior Court and a federal money-laundering charge, and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison for both offenses, according to court records. He was released in October 2008.
Before his disappearance, he was living in a Bremerton house owned by the Kruegers, according to Krueger’s missing-person report.
Krueger and Bradshaw supposedly were on their way to Bremerton when Betty Krueger last saw them, the missing-person report says. But they ended up at McAllister and Castleberry’s house, which is about 2 ½ miles from the Kruegers’ home in Bothell, a house that’s since been lost to foreclosure.
The van the two were using was found in a strip-mall parking lot, a little more than a mile from the crime scene.
McAllister says he doesn’t know if the men’s motive was robbery or something more sinister.
He admits he never had taken his wife seriously when she insisted on keeping their doors and windows locked. Now he does.
“The innocence is definitely gone,” he said.
Seattle Times news researchers Miyoko Wolf and David Turim contributed to this report, which also includes information from Times archives.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org