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Prosecutor: Kent double murder suspect was looking for a fight

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KENT — A 29-year-old man charged with two counts of murder at a Kent gas station was allegedly rude and confrontational to store patrons and employees before pulling out a gun and fatally shooting two unarmed men, the King County prosecutor said.

Leland Russell, Jr. faces two charges of first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement for Wednesday morning’s shooting at a Kent Shell Station in the 6300 block of SE 212th Street.

If convicted, Russell faces 50 to 63 years in prison.

According to charging documents, Russell and another man arrived at the gas station during the morning commute and “remained in parking lot for over ten minutes” engaging in fights with a variety of people for apparently no reason. It was then that Russell’s friend talked to the two victims — Dave Christianson and Carlos Gonzalez — and allegedly physically assaulted one of them.

Seeing the fight, Russell allegedly grabbed a gun from a car and shot both men to death at short range. He then fled the scene and attempted to conceal his gun, prosecutors said.

Russell later allegedly admitted to the killings, saying he shot the men for supposedly using racial slurs.

The shooting spurred community outrage.

“Sadly, two innocent men lost their lives because of the defendant’s inexplicable desire to act like a ‘gangster,'” King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Berliner said in a release.

Russell is currently being held without bail. He is slated to be arraigned on Sept. 4.


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