$6,000 reward being offered to help ID, catch Kingdom Hall arson, shooting suspects
WANTED IN THURSTON COUNTY —
The ATF is offering a $5,000 reward, along with $1,000 from Crime Stoppers for information that could help hunt down whoever shot-up a Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall in Yelm.
Photos from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office shows several bullet holes that pierced through the building on Vail Rd. SE. — after someone opened fire on it last week.
Thankfully, no one was inside at the time. Many of the bullets flew right through the spots people sit for service, straight through an office chair and shattered glass windows. “It could have been tragic. If anybody would have been in that hall at the time the shootings occurred, someone could have been killed, or definitely shot. Fortunately, it was approximately 3am, so fortunately no one was there. There still could have been someone in there sleeping, or doing maintenance, or something, but that was not the case, but it there had been someone in there, someone would have been hurt, or killed,” said Thurston County Sheriff’s Det. Ben Elkins.
The shooting comes after an arsonist ignited fires at the Kingdom Halls in Tumwater and Olympia in March.
Surveillance video shows the suspect bundled up in a jacket, a hood over his head, walking up the sidewalk towards the Olympia Kingdom Hall, just before 8:30am on Monday, March 19th. Investigators believe he`s carrying a gallon of gasoline in each hand. Then a second surveillance camera shows the man pouring the liquid next to the side of the building, moments later -- A giant flash of fire -- and he runs off, likely to the Kingdom Hall in Tumwater where a second fire was reported a half hour later.
"The first fire event in Olympia caused approximately $50,000 in damage. The second fire event in Tumwater caused approximately $10,000 to $15,000 in damage. The shooting in Yelm caused approximately $10,000 in damage to the structure and building,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Blais. “ATF`s principal mission is to protect our communities against acts of violent crime and enforce the laws against those who misuse firearms, such as the incident at the Kingdom Hall in Yelm and the two arsons at the Kingdom Halls in Tumwater and Olympia."
Again, along with the $5,000 of reward money from the ATF, The Thurston County Sheriff's Office is adding another $1,000 through Crime Stoppers of the South Sound for tips leading to arrests in the fires and shooting.
Call 1-800-222-TIPS(8477), or use the P3 Tips app to submit your information anonymously.