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Originally published April 22, 2013 at 9:08 PM | Page modified April 23, 2013 at 7:20 AM

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Family, neighbors recall 2 victims of Federal Way rampage

Family and neighbors remember two of the victims of Sunday’s fatal shooting at a Federal Way apartment complex.

Seattle Times staff reporters

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released the names of the victims of Sunday’s shooting in Federal Way, but police identified one as Ceasar Valdovinos, 23. Additionally, neighbors remembered a second whose name has not been confirmed.

Sylvia Valdovinos said her son, Ceasar, had attended a family barbecue and birthday party at a mobile-home complex near the Pinewood Village apartments Sunday night but left abruptly about 9 p.m.

Lorrena Almeida, one of his sisters who was at the party, said he just disappeared.

“We fed him and he left and went across the street” to the apartment complex, Almeida said. “We knew he had some friends over here (at the apartments). He was in a bad place at the wrong time.”

Police said he was one of two men fatally shot in the parking lot of Pinewood Village by a gunman who was later killed by police. It wasn’t immediately clear why Ceasar had gone to the apartment complex.

Ceasar was the second-youngest of nine children, Almeida said. The family had moved to Washington from California in 2006.

“The reason we came up here was to find a better life and avoid all this — the guns and drugs and all that,” his mother, Sylvia, said. “I will remember my son as a kindhearted, caring person.”

She said her son was an unemployed warehouse worker and delivery driver with a girlfriend and a child younger than 2 years old.

Meanwhile, apartment- complex resident Robert White said many there knew a 62-year-old victim who was gunned down inside his unit, at least well enough for them to say hi.

“He was an older gentleman and used a cane,” White said. “He would come out here to the street to smoke a cigarette or feed the birds. He wouldn’t have hurt anyone.”

Police said the gunman, identified by a law-enforcement source as Dennis Clark III, went to the man’s apartment after the man, having heard gunfire, told a neighbor to call 911. Clark used a shotgun to breach the 62-year-old’s door and then shot him with the same weapon, police said.

White said he did not know his neighbor well, but said other apartment residents described the man as a military veteran who had lived at the complex for 11 years.

“People here are still pretty much in shock,” White said Monday afternoon.

Apartment-complex resident Andrea Mettler, 43, said he frequently offered help to his neighbors. One time he told her that if she ever needed money for gas or anything to let him know, though she never took him up on the offer.

Mettler said the man also would collect clothes and other items left by people moving out of the complex so they could be donated. Because he didn’t have a car, Mettler said she drove the items to nearby charities.

Another resident, Shelly Gaub, said the man — who she described as slender with a beard — was a disabled vet. She saw him every morning with a cup of coffee, standing out by a fence on the property’s border.

“He’d always help,” said Gaub, who wasn’t surprised to hear the man may have tried to summon help after the first shootings.

The man lived in a first-floor unit in the “A” building, which is just off South 333rd Street, said resident Jennifer Brown, who said she saw a wall riddled with bullet holes in the stairwell outside the man’s door.

“He was a really nice guy. He’d always ask how you are and how your family is doing,” she said. “He was kind of like the Neighborhood Watch as well. He was always outside, sitting on his little chair, or he was feeding the pigeons.”

Seattle Times staff reporter Alexa Vaughn and news researcher Gene Balk contributed to this report.

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