Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Police name person of interest in Lakewood fatal shooting


LAKEWOOD, Wash. - Police have named a person of interest in the fatal shooting of a young man early Tuesday.

Police are looking for 19-year-old James Laron Ellis. Ellis is 5-foot-7 and 160 pounds.

Police warn that Ellis may be armed and dangerous. He has an outstanding misdemeanor arrest warrant.

Shooting at 2 a.m.

Early Tueday morning, officers responded to calls of shots fired at the Laurel Garden Apartments in the 6600 block of 150th St. SW in Lakewood.

When they arrived at an apartment, they found the 20-year-old male victim dead of a gunshot to the head. The victim's girlfriend and another friend, who both live at the apartment, were there at the time.

Police say three people, all known to the victim, had arrived at the apartment earlier and were let inside. An argument ensued, then one of the suspects pulled out a gun and shot the man. The suspects fled; the victim died at the scene.

"It looks like the motive was robbery," said Sgt. Mike Zaro, Lakewood Police Dept. "We had three suspects that knew the victim and he had something of value there."

Neighbors in the area awoke to police searching for the suspects.

"We've had canine tracks, we've had helicopters in the air, we've been doing everything we can to try and find them in this area," said Zaro.

The police canine unit found one of the suspects about a half a mile from the crime scene, hiding out in a garage. The shooter was on the run, but witnesses, including the victim's girlfriend, were able to tell police his name.

The Laurel Garden Apartments is known to police. Residents say there have been a number of crimes in the complex. Most residents keep to themselves, but some had met the 20-year-old victim.

Lakewood police believe the robbery may have been linked to drugs. They say if necessary, they will release a description of the suspects to the public Tuesday afternoon.

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