Murder charge filed in shooting outside Federal Way bar
A 21-year-old Renton man was charged Tuesday in a June 27 shooting outside a Federal Way bar that left one man dead and several other people wounded.
Seattle Times staff reporter
When a group of friends admonished Kenneth Sutton Jr. for "banging" and throwing up gang signs outside a Federal Way bar two weeks ago, King County prosecutors say, Sutton began to walk away but then turned and opened fire on the crowd, killing one man and injuring four other people, two of them severely.
Sutton, who is being held without bail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder, accused of gunning down Cloise Young, 23, of Kent. He was also charged with one count of first-degree assault in the shooting of two men and two women, all of them bystanders who were not involved in the argument that erupted as people were filtering out of Johnny's Famous Grill & Bar at closing time on June 27.
Prosecutors also charged Sutton with a firearm enhancement on each count. If convicted, the 21-year-old Renton man faces a prison term of 30 to 40 years, said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
"Despite currently being on supervision by the Department of Corrections for a domestic violence offense, the defendant left a bar where he had been drinking in violation of his probation and instigated an argument by claiming his gang affiliation," Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Berliner wrote in charging documents. "When the victim and his friends told the defendant to stop and not 'bang' at that location, the defendant sprayed bullets into the crowd."
A 31-year-old woman, who had argued with Sutton in the bar, was critically injured after being shot twice in the pelvis area. A 28-year-old man, a friend of Young's, was shot in the right leg and buttock, according to charging documents. Another 31-year-old woman suffered a bullet wound to her left thigh, and a 29-year-old man was shot in the right buttock, the papers say.
Sutton, who called his sister for a ride to Valley Medical Center, arrived at the hospital with a 21-year-old friend. Both men had gunshot wounds to their legs, and Sutton also had been shot in the right arm, according to charging documents. He was arrested at the hospital, where one officer described him as "verbally abusive and uncooperative" with both police and medical staff, the papers say.
The critically injured 31-year-old woman told officers at Harborview Medical Center that while she was on the ground after being shot, she "saw someone firing from the ground in the direction of the original shooter." While it may have been Young, the woman could not see his face, charging papers say.
Young, who had a concealed-weapons permit and appeared to be lawfully armed, was shot three times and died at the scene. Officers found an empty holster attached to his pants but did not recover any firearms, the papers say.
Officers also found five .45-caliber cartridge cases grouped around Young and 21 .40-caliber cartridge cases from a Smith & Wesson "all along the sidewalk," from where Young collapsed in the parking lot and stretching 130 feet to the east, charging papers say.
Shortly before the shootings, a woman had gotten in front of Sutton, who was in line at the bar for last call and "this had made him mad," one witness later told officers. Young may have then said something to Sutton, the papers say.
As he was leaving, Sutton, who was with a couple of friends, "began to yell about being 'Rolling 90s,' " a reference to a local Crips gang, the papers say. One man heard Young tell Sutton that he and his friends don't "get down like that," while the 31-year-old woman who had argued earlier with Sutton heard Young tell him to "stop running his mouth and gangbanging," charging papers say.
As Sutton started to walk away, "Young then said something," and a witness saw Sutton turn, pull a gun from his waistband and start shooting, the papers say.
After Young was shot, at least two people stopped another man they saw going through Young's pockets, charging papers say.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654