Alleged gunman on trial in 2012 shooting near Seattle nightclub
Kevin Hubbard, a 24-year-old Seattle man, is standing trial on three counts of attempted first-degree murder for a Jan. 2012 shooting that critically injured three men. The assault rifle used in the alleged shooting was later sold to an informant working with federal agents.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Kevin Hubbard didn’t have anything to do with a fight that erupted inside a crowded South Lake Union nightclub in January 2012 — but in an act of retaliation, he allegedly opened fire on three men in a nearby parking lot, according to testimony in his trial in King County Superior Court.
The semi-automatic rifle used in the attack that critically wounded the three men was later sold to a confidential informant working with federal agents in an unrelated operation aimed at getting guns out of the hands of gang members in Seattle’s South End, according to testimony and court records.
James Henderson, one of six men arrested in the federal gun sting and who is now serving a five-year sentence in federal prison, testified Tuesday that he was with Hubbard the night of the shooting outside the Citrus Lounge.
Henderson, who has been friends with Hubbard since childhood, is the closest thing the state has to an eyewitness — even though Henderson, 24, testified Tuesday that he didn’t actually see Hubbard pull the trigger.
Video-surveillance footage, however, seems to contradict that claim. So does a conversation Henderson had with another man who was working with police and surreptitiously recorded their exchange inside an Auburn bar about a month after the Jan. 28, 2012, shootings.
None of the victims saw who shot them and two have refused to speak to police or participate in Hubbard’s prosecution.
According to court records, cellphone data also show Hubbard and Henderson were in the area near the Citrus Lounge at the time of the shootings.
Hubbard’s trial is expected to last another week or two.
Injured were Zealand Adams, now 28; Rommie Bone, now 30; and Daniel Wilson, now 28. Police have been unable to locate Adams or Bone, according to court records. Wilson — who suffered two broken legs in the shooting and had to have his right leg amputated above the knee — has already testified against Hubbard.
Hubbard was arrested May 31, 2012, and remains in the King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. He is on trial for three counts of attempted first-degree murder, with each count carrying a firearms enhancement.
A felon, Hubbard is also charged with two counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm — one count for the assault rifle allegedly used in the shooting, and a second count for allegedly being in possession of a firearm at the time of his arrest, according to court records.
Henderson, who spent most of his time on the witness stand with his arms crossed over his chest, seemed a reluctant witness. He acknowledged that he had agreed to plead guilty to second-degree rendering criminal assistance, a misdemeanor charge, to resolve his role in the Citrus Lounge shooting case.
He testified that he and Hubbard, also 24, spent most of Jan. 27, 2012, together before heading to the club, where Henderson’s cousin works as a bartender. The two drank most of a bottle of vodka before going inside, where they met up with a couple of friends.
The fight broke out about 45 minutes later, when a group of men — the shooting victims — began flashing money around,
“It started over some money being shown. Honestly, I don’t even know why it started,” Henderson testified.
King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Julie Kline asked Henderson what it means when someone flashes cash. “It’s just a statement. You’re basically saying you’re dope or something like that,” Henderson said.
The two other friends Henderson had met inside the bar were involved in the altercation, but not Hubbard or himself, he testified.
“People started going crazy, throwing chairs and bottles and stuff,” Henderson said.
The bouncers began pushing everyone out the door and a random stranger punched Hubbard as the two exited, Henderson said.
Separated from Hubbard for a minute or so, Henderson said they met up at their car. That’s when Henderson noticed Hubbard had an assault rifle tucked down by his right leg as he sat in the driver’s seat, he said.
Kline asked if Henderson asked Hubbard what he was doing with the rifle, and Henderson said, “I was wondering but I never asked. We’re men. I’m not going to question what he’s doing.”
Hubbard drove across Fairview Avenue North and pulled into another parking lot, Henderson said. They both got out of the car, Hubbard carrying the rifle and Henderson carrying the bottle of vodka, he said.
“Why were you getting out of the car?” Kline asked.
“I don’t know. We got out, we weren't really going anywhere. We just got out, and I was walking side by side with him,” Henderson said.
They waited behind some bushes and watched the three men who had been flashing money inside the bar walk across Fairview Avenue and head toward their vehicles, parked in the same lot, Henderson testified.
“We were standing there, and that’s when the shooting started,” Henderson said. “He started shooting and I walked back to the car ... There was no need for me to be standing around.”
He denied seeing Hubbard fire the rifle but said he heard two shots, followed by a single shot from a handgun, then more shots from the rifle — so many he assumed Hubbard had emptied the gun’s 30-round magazine, he testified. When Hubbard returned to the car, Henderson said the two didn’t say anything on the 20-minute drive to Skyway.
Henderson on Tuesday identified himself and Hubbard in video footage based on their clothing and their vehicle, even though faces can’t be identified from the footage captured by cameras at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, across Fairview Avenue North from the club.
According to court documents, the footage shows Henderson running back to the car after the gunman started firing.
Henderson also testified it was his voice recorded by a police informant in which he talks about the shooting without identifying Hubbard by name. According to testimony at trial, the informant has four felony drug convictions — and his defense attorney reached out to police, offering the man’s assistance in exchange for leniency on his fifth felony drug charge.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org