Before his arrest at a Tukwila hotel on Friday, a 38-year-old man wanted in connection with the August shooting death of his girlfriend in Renton evaded police for nearly six weeks, according to King County prosecutors.

Vaughn Weems, whose last known address is in Covington, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder domestic violence, accused of shooting 27-year-old Montisha Offord in the chest outside the Echo Mountain Apartments shortly after 2 a.m. on Aug. 21. Offord, who was driven to Valley Medical Center by a friend, died an hour after arriving at the hospital, charging papers say.

Noting Weems’ lengthy criminal history that includes armed robbery, theft and domestic-violence-related convictions, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jason Simmons requested that Weems be held without bail, according to the charges. Under state law, criminal defendants facing possible life sentences can be denied bail if there is evidence showing they have a propensity for violence.

Court records do not yet indicate which defense attorney is representing Weems. He is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 20.

During the investigation into Offord’s homicide, Renton police detectives learned Weems and Offord had attended a barbecue at the Rainier Playfield in Seattle before deciding to go to a Renton bar with other friends, charging papers say. Though the couple were dancing and having fun at the barbecue, by the time they arrived in Renton, the mood had soured and Offord told a friend she was mad over accusations Weems had made against her, say the charges.

After the group split up, Offord called the same friend and asked to be picked up, saying Weems had kicked her out of his car. The friend drove to get Offord, who then told the friend to pull into an apartment complex in the 2200 block of Benson Road South, the charges say.


There, Weems and Offord got into an argument in the parking lot and Weems shot Offord once in the chest before fleeing, say the charges. Witnesses, including Offord’s friend, identified Weems from a police photo montage as the gunman, according to the charges.

The friend called 911 but decided to drive Offord to the hospital because she felt it was taking too long for an ambulance to arrive, say the charges. Renton police officers were dispatched to both the apartment complex and hospital, where medical staff pulled Offord from the vehicle to treat her. Offord died at 3:10 a.m.

Weems “actively evaded law enforcement for a total of 41 days,” a Renton police detective wrote in the charges. “Further, on the day of his capture, it took numerous hours for Vaughn Weems to turn himself over to the police, despite his location being surrounded and the announcement of a police presence.”