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Court documents: Suspect admitted to killing 2 at Kent gas station, says it was over ‘racial slurs’

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KENT — A 29-year-old man admitted to fatally shooting two men at a Kent service station and said he did it because two construction workers there had used racial slurs against him and his friend and disrespected them, police said in probable cause documents filed in court Thursday.

The shooting occurred at the Shell station in the 6300 block of SE 212th Street Wednesday morning.

Leland Russell, who was arrested in Burien Wednesday night, was ordered held on $2 million bail Thursday.

In the court documents, a Kent police detective said Russell admitted to shooting both victims. He “said construction workers at the gas station said racial slurs to him” and his friend. “He said once inside the gas station they repeated the racial epithet.”

He “and the workers got in a verbal argument that was joined by employees of the Shell gas station,” the detective said. The suspect “later admits that the fight was over disrespect.”

The suspect “stated that he had to shoot the victims because if he didn’t (his friend’s) family would kill” him for not standing up for his friend.

The detective in his narrative identified Russell as a Hispanic man, but the court document listed his race as white.

Witnesses said the fight began over the suspect taking up multiple parking spots.



Witnesses at the gas station told Q13 FOX News that a black Cadillac pulled into the station and the two men inside were clearly looking for trouble, trying to pick a fight with at least one customer  before getting into a confrontation with workers at the store.

Things at the Kent Shell station in the 6300 block of SE 212th Street started to go bad just after 8 o'clock Wednesday morning.

"This little Hispanic guy and one of the workers were just arguing, like right in front of the door,” witness Ryan Riess said.

Witnesses say it started with the suspects' car parked across multiple spaces, with music blaring.

"Then all I hear was, 'I've been to prison I'm not afraid of shooting you,'” Riess said.

Then things got worse.

"The black guy comes and then it turns into a fist fight. Manager comes out and tries to break it up. Meanwhile, the other guy goes to the car and gets the gun, literally loads it and starts firing off shots,” Riess said.

Witnesses say eight to 10 shots were fired and, when it was over, the store manager and a clerk were dead.

"Guys you see every day, regular people. It's like going to get coffee, you small talk them every single day, next thing you know they're lying dead,” Riess said

Police believe the shooting was random but witnesses say the two men appeared to be looking for trouble, nearly getting in an argument with a driver before the argument that led to the shooting.

Tim Holman was making a delivery in the store’s cooler when the shots rang out.

"I looked to my left and there were two guys in the cooler knelt down with me. I said, what`s going on? They said somebody got shot,” Holman said.

The two suspects got away and a manhunt got under way.

Javier Lopez is a regular customer.

He came to pay his respects to the manager, a friend, who he says leaves behind two adult daughters.

"He was just a great man, real loving, caring man. It`s unfortunate that this happens to good people," Lopez said.

Police say they are also looking into a road rage incident from earlier Wednesday. They say they don’t know if it was related to the murders in Kent, but say there are similarities.

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