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Originally published Tuesday, September 4, 2012 at 2:44 PM

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Seattle homicide victim called 'one of the good guys'

Seattle police are asking for help finding a BMW convertible believed to be linked to the road-rage killing of a Capitol Hill wine steward in North Seattle on Friday night.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Seattle police are asking for the public's help in finding a BMW convertible believed to be linked to the road-rage killing of a Capitol Hill wine steward on Friday night.

Yancy Noll, 43, was in his car at 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 75th Street around 7:26 p.m. when a silver BMW Z4 convertible pulled up next to him, according to police. The BMW driver fired several shots at Noll, according to police.

Seattle police spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said it's unclear what led to the shooting, other than some type of "traffic-related dispute" that investigators have categorized as road rage.

"We are pretty certain there are going to be other witnesses out there and we're hopeful they'll contact us and that will give us the break we need. Anyone who suspects they might have the smallest piece of information should err on the side of caution and call us," Whitcomb said.

Witnesses described the gunman as a well-dressed white or Asian male in his late 20s to 30s, with dark, slicked-back hair. Police said the BMW may have recent body damage, including a broken-out passenger-side window.

The death of Noll has stunned many in Seattle's tight-knit wine-sales community and left his friends and neighbors struggling to understand why someone would fatally shoot someone they considered warm and thoughtful.

Woodinville-based wine distributor Guy Harris said that in the days since the slaying he's heard story after story about Noll's kindness.

"Every time I saw him he would greet me with a big bear hug," Harris said. "He was really into mountain climbing and got into kayaking. His dog was his best friend."

Harris said that when he entered the wine industry 10 years ago, Noll already was working in wine sales.

"He's got really high integrity. He's one of the really good guys in the wine industry in town. He was very witty, had a great sense of humor," Harris said.

Most recently, Noll, was working as the wine steward at the QFC store on Broadway in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. A co-worker at the store said that QFC has provided flowers and food for different memorials dedicated to Noll throughout the city.

Laurell Haapanen, a neighbor of Noll's, said that he and his dog, Lola, were the first to greet her and her boyfriend when they moved into the Savar Court apartments in the Roosevelt neighborhood.

"He was one of those people who was so friendly and genuine. ... This murder has hit me hard," Haapanen said.

"That apartment building, we all know each other," added Mike Martin, who has lived at Savar Court for about 10 years. "So much of that was because of him. Whenever people were moving in he went up and shook their hand."

Martin said that Noll's girlfriend will keep Noll's beloved dog.

Details on a funeral have not been released. An online memorial for Noll has been started at www.facebook.com/YancyNollMemorialPage.

Noll's slaying is the 23rd in Seattle so far this year, three more than in all of 2011.

Police are asking that anyone with information on Noll's slaying or the identity or whereabouts of the gunman or his vehicle to call 911 or the Seattle Police Homicide Tip Line at 206- 233-5000. Anonymous tips are accepted.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.

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