Witnesses talk of shootings at Federal Way apartments that left 5 dead

FEDERAL WAY — More details were disclosed Monday about the shooting in Federal Way in which a gunman killed his girlfriend and three of his neighbors before police shot him dead.

The shooting started inside the Pinewood Village Apartments on Sunday after a domestic dispute, police said. The gunman moved from one apartment to a second apartment and then into the parking lot.

The first victim was apparently the shooter’s girlfriend. The other three were apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time.

One day after the shootings, the apartment walls are still riddled with bullet holes and neighbors are still trying to come to grips with what happened and the lives lost.

“It was terrible to witness it. To hear it is one thing, but to actually see it is a totally different thing. I saw the guy get murdered and I heard my neighbor getting murdered,” neighbor Ron Brown said.

The first of many 911 calls came in just about 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

“The shooter had killed his girlfriend and was trying to kill any witnesses that he seen,” Brown said.

Brown was in a neighboring apartment with his 1-year-old son.

“I was on the computer and heard some gunshots and came to the window and heard gunshots right behind us here. Then minutes later I saw a guy running with a shotgun.  I thought he was running upstairs but come to find out he was running downstairs,” Brown said.

Investigators said they believe the gunman killed his girlfriend and then targeted witnesses, killing three of them, including a longtime resident known only as Roland.

Moments earlier, Roland yelled out for someone to call 911 and for that reason police believe he was targeted by the gunman.

“Next thing I know, I heard shots coming out of his apartment, so I figured the guy had went in there; then I get up and look through the peephole, I can see the shooter coming out reloading his gun,” neighbor James Mack said.

Mack said he then heard more shots.

What he didn’t know at the time, the shots that hit the outside of the building ended up in his apartment.

Two dozen holes in his bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and hallway.

“I could hear shrapnel hit my face, flash by my face,” Mack said.

Andrea Mettler said Roland was a good friend and a nice guy.

“It’s kind of a lot to take in. He and I were close friends, especially close at home.  I’ve been here about four years and it’s, like, too much to take in,” Mettler said.

Only one other victim has been named – 23-year-odl Caesar Valdovinos. He leaves behind a young child and a family in mourning.

“I miss him. I wish he were here, that’s all, and I can’t believe this is happening,” the victim’s mother, Sylvia Valdovinos, said.

Police said the gunman, who was hit by gunfire from eight officers and killed, had a history of domestic violence.

So far the King County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released the names of the dead.

The eight officers who fired their weapon have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard in any officer-involved shooting.

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