Suspect says he ‘broke’ before slaying Normandy Park man, 96
A 22-year-old man was ordered held on investigation of first-degree murder and first-degree assault Monday in connection with the fatal shooting of 96-year-old Philip Hamlin and a crowbar attack on Hamlin’s granddaughter in Normandy Park.
Seattle Times staff reporter
A 22-year-old man was ordered held on investigation of first-degree murder and first-degree assault Monday in connection with the fatal shooting of 96-year-old Philip Hamlin and a crowbar attack on Hamlin’s granddaughter on Saturday in Normandy Park.
The suspect waived his first appearance in court Monday, and a bail hearing was set over until Tuesday.
According to the probable-cause statement outlining the police case, Shane Chamberlain and his wife worked as caregivers for Hamlin and lived at his house in the 18500 block of Normandy Terrace Southwest. However, the pair had been having marital problems and Chamberlain had moved out of the home, according to one of Hamlin’s sons.
About 2:45 p.m. Saturday, Hamlin’s granddaughter called 911 from a neighbor’s house and told a dispatcher that Chamberlain, whom she knew well, attacked her with a crowbar, according to the statement. The attack “was completely unexpected and unprovoked,” and the young woman fought with Chamberlain and threw a chair at him in order to escape, the statement says.
She fled, leaving her grandfather inside the house, it says.
Police say Chamberlain also called 911 and told a dispatcher he had shot Hamlin with a .38-caliber handgun “and thought he was dead,” according to the statement. He told the dispatcher the incident happened after he “broke,” the statement says.
The dispatcher ordered Chamberlain to go outside and wait for police, which he did, the statement says. He was taken into custody in Hamlin’s driveway without incident.
Officers discovered Hamlin in the family room, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the face, the statement says. Detectives also found a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, with one remaining round in the chamber, next to a bloody crowbar on a ledge next to an outdoor pool at the residence, according to the statement.
On Monday, about a dozen of Hamlin’s relatives were in the courtroom at the King County Jail for the suspect’s first court hearing.
Hamlin’s son, Harry Hamlin, later said he has known Chamberlain and his wife for four years — and that the wife, who used to clean and garden for Harry Hamlin, began working as his father’s caregiver eight or nine months ago.
Harry Hamlin said Chamberlain was visiting Philip Hamlin when he allegedly attacked Harry Hamlin’s niece with a crowbar, partially severing her ear, and then shot Philip Hamlin.
Harry Hamlin said his niece was very close to her grandfather and is now “resting comfortably at home” after being released from the hospital.
The Hamlin family is at a loss to explain what happened: “We don’t understand the motive or anything like that,” said Harry Hamlin.
He said his father was a pioneer in several technology areas, held several patents and was “well-to-do.”
But there was “no indication or evidence that anything was missing” from his father’s home, Hamlin said.
He said his father’s female caregiver is devastated. She and her husband had marital problems and Chamberlain had moved out, Hamlin said. Hamlin described Chamberlain as “a reserved, quiet guy” whom the family never knew to be violent.
Chamberlain does not appear to have a criminal record in Washington.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or firstname.lastname@example.org