EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — A Lake Stevens man who claimed self-defense when he shot and killed a passenger on a Community Transit bus last month has been charged in Snohomish County Superior Court with second-degree murder.
Everett police responded shortly after 10 p.m. on March 7 to reports of an assault on a bus near Evergreen Way, the Everett Herald reported. When they arrived, Gene Peterson was dead. He was 33.
Alejandro Meza, 22, told police he argued with Peterson because Peterson was using drugs on the bus. At some point, Meza said, Peterson punched him.
They fought. Meza claimed he saw Peterson reach for something and Meza shot the man.
Video corroborated part of Meza’s story, according to charging papers. In it, Meza and Peterson can be seen fighting, but Peterson doesn’t appear to be reaching for anything. Just before Meza draws his pistol, Peterson reportedly has one hand up by his head, and the other is grabbing onto the hood of Meza’s jacket.
The video allegedly shows Meza draw his gun and fires. Peterson falls to his knees, turning his back to Meza, who reportedly fires his gun once more.
Police reported finding only one weapon at the scene: Meza’s 9 mm handgun. After his arrest, a judge initially set Meza’s bail at $75,000. Deputy prosecutors asked that it be raised to $500,000. Meza is set to be arraigned on April 12.