Could former Marine face charges for fatally shooting suspected thief?
MAPLE VALLEY– In a quiet Maple Valley cul-de-sac in the middle of the night, Kristen Hague found herself in a life and death situation.
“If Keenan wouldn’t have shoved me out of the way, the guy would have shot and got me,” Hague said.
Shortly after midnight Tuesday, in the 21800 block of SE 236th Place, Kristen’s nephew Keenan spotted a stranger sitting in the cab of his truck and confronted him.
The 24-year-old former Marine told police he first ordered the man to get on the ground, but when the suspect ran to a getaway car, he fired at that vehicle. He said that’s when the suspect raised a gun, so Keenan fired, killing him.
“The guy just jumped out of the car ready to shoot,” Hague said in defense of her nephew. “The police say there is another gun and multiple rounds from a different gun.”
King County sheriff’s detectives are conducting an investigation into the shooting to determine if they should recommend that the county prosecutor file charges against the former Marine.
So were the fatal shots justified?
“That’s the million-dollar question,” attorney Jennifer Cannon-Unione said.
In Washington state, there’s a “no duty to retreat law.”
“What the law essentially says is that if you have a reasonable belief that you’re about to be attacked, then you have a right to stand your ground and fight force with force,” Cannon-Unione said.
Cannon-Unione added that it’s possible the Iraq war veteran could be charged if prosecutors find the man he shot wasn’t trying to steal the truck, but only looking to take some of his belongings.
“If someone breaks in to steal a radio, that’s a misdemeanor, not a felony. So there would be a question on whether or not the force used, if it caused homicide, was justifiable in that particular circumstance,” Cannon-Unione said.
Hague said she has no doubt in her mind that her nephew’s actions saved their lives.
“I definitely see my life was in danger, my nephew’s life was in danger, and he did the right thing,” the man’s aunt said.
Deputies say the Honda Civic the suspect’s girlfriend was in at the scene was stolen. She was arrested and also had an outstanding burglary warrant.