The following vignettes describe the circumstances for killings not ruled self-defense by private individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns. The incidents below all occurred in Washington. The descriptions include the current, known status of any charges filed against the concealed carry killer as reported by news sources as well as noting instances where the perpetrator committed suicide.
The Violence Policy Center welcomes any new information regarding the status of any case (with verifiable source(s)). Use this link to contact the VPC: http://www.vpc.org/contact.htm.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Bryan M. Owens CONVICTED
Date: September 3, 2019
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On September 3, 2019, concealed handgun permit holder Bryan M. Owens, 59, allegedly shot and killed Corey Meyer, 37, following an altercation outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Grand Mound, Washington. Witnesses describe three men involved in the altercation, Owens, Meyer, and a third, unnamed man. Owens told law enforcement that he saw the third man panhandling in front of the McDonald’s “and decided he needed to contact him and find out why he was there.” According to a witness, Owens approached the third man and “asked if he was panhandling and was he a pedophile.” Meyer then approached the two men and he and Owens began physically fighting with both men ending up on the ground. After witnesses intervened, Meyer spat on Owens who then pulled a pistol from his waist. Witnesses say Meyer rushed at Owens who allegedly fired two shots at Meyer. According to the Thurston County Coroner, Meyer died of gunshot wounds to his head and chest. Owens was charged with second degree murder while armed with a deadly weapon. The judge ordered Owens held without bail, saying there was convincing evidence that Owens showed a propensity for violence and may be “a loose cannon who might go off again.” A tentative trial date has been set for January 6, 2020.
UPDATE: In March 2020, Bryan M. Owens was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter while armed with a firearm in the death of Corey Meyer. On April 22, 2020, Owens was sentenced to 13 ½ years in prison.
Source: “Rochester man sentenced to more than 13 years for fatally shooting panhandler,” chronline.com, April 24, 2020; “Trial set for Rochester man accused of killing panhandler,” theolympian.com, November 3, 2019; “Man accused of killing panhandler outside Grand Mound McDonald’s held without bail,” theolympian.com, September 4, 2019.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Cameron Espita CONVICTED
Date: July 2, 2017
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On July 2, 2017, concealed handgun permit holder Cameron Espitia, 31, allegedly shot and killed his wife Jennifer Espitia, 29, as they shared an Uber ride on their way home from a wedding. According to police, Cameron Espitia, an active member of the U.S. Coast Guard, consumed numerous alcoholic drinks at the wedding while armed. During the ride he argued with his wife when she wanted him to go home instead of going to the after-party. “The defendant told his wife to ‘go [expletive] herself’ and then shot her at close range in the back of the head.” According to charging papers, the Uber driver picked the Espitias up minutes before the shooting, with Jennifer Espitia sitting in the front seat and her husband in the back seat. According to the driver, the couple began arguing immediately, and were still arguing when Jennifer Espitia was shot in the back of the head. Cameron Espitia demanded to be let out of the vehicle and the driver complied before calling the police, fearing that he would be shot as well. Police arrested Cameron Espitia several blocks away. Cameron Espitia claimed he did not remember the events of the evening, although he had dried blood on him. The caliber of the Ruger pistol that he was carrying matched that of the shell casing found in the vehicle. Espitia was charged with second degree murder.
UPDATE: On October 31, 2018, Cameron Espitia pleaded guilty to second degree murder in the death of Jennifer Espitia. On December 7, 2018, he was sentenced to 19 years in prison.
Source: “Seattle man gets 19 years for killing wife in Queen Anne Uber ride,” www.seattlepi.com, December 10, 2018; “Man pleads guilty to killing wife on Uber ride in Queen Anne,” www.seattlepi.com, October 31, 2018; “Charge: Drunk, gun-wielding husband killed wife in Uber ride,” www.seattlepi.com, July 6, 2017.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Unknown SUICIDE
Date: August 2, 2016
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 2, 2016, an unidentified concealed handgun permit holder shot and killed himself near Appleway Boulevard in Spokane Valley after an altercation with police. The incident began when Spokane County law enforcement stopped and issued the man a misdemeanor traffic citation for driving with a suspended license. The permit carrier was released from the scene with his legally owned handgun. According to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, a few minutes later, a caller reported hearing gunshots, at which point officers began searching for the man again. Another call two hours later led police to the man. Deputies tried to negotiate with him, but he then started walking towards an apartment complex, handgun still at his side. Officers then fired nonlethal beanbag projectiles at him and he dropped to the ground. At this point he placed his handgun to his head and fired, taking his own life. Officials confirm the man
had a concealed carry permit for the weapon.
Source: “Man dies after traffic stop in Spokane Valley,” KREM.com, August 3, 2016
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Kwame Bates PENDING
Date: January 18, 2016
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On January 18, 2016, concealed handgun permit holder Kwame Bates, 26, allegedly was involved in a shootout outside the Palomino Club in North Spokane that resulted in the death of Eduardo Villagomez, 21. Bates is one of two suspects in custody for the shooting, the other being LaShawn Jameison, 21. Bates admitted to being part of the gun battle and said that the fight originally broke out when a girl in the club was pushed. Bates admitted to firing six or seven shots and voluntarily turned over his 9mm Sturm Ruger handgun to Spokane police. According to police, Villagomez was an innocent bystander and was shot at least six times before being run over by a red Mustang as it fled the scene. Bates was charged with first-degree murder and 14 counts of drive-by shooting.
Source: “Charges added against men involved in fatal nightclub shooting,” Spokesman-Review, February 23, 2016; “Former EWU athlete pleads not guilty to shooting,” KREM.com, January 26, 2016; “Police arrest EWU athlete for deadly Palomino shooting,” KREM.com, January 26, 2016; “Police arrest two men involved in fatal shooting at The Palomino,” KXLY.com, January 25, 2016.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Millard James Tallant III SUICIDE
Date: May 26, 2015
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On May 26, 2015, concealed handgun permit holder Millard James Tallant III, 62, shot himself in the head after being shot twice in a confrontation with law enforcement. According to a search warrant filed after the shooting, Tallant had lost his job within the prior year and was going through a divorce. He had not told his wife of 18 years about losing his job, instead using $100,000 of his retirement funds to pay his bills. On the night of the shooting, he showed up at his estranged wife’s house. She called 911 just after midnight, telling dispatchers that he was acting strangely and had been making comments about suicide for several days. Tallant walked away from his wife’s house, but she called 911 again after hearing an apparent gunshot. Sheriff’s Deputy Dan Tenbrink responded to the call and as he approached, Tallant reportedly walked around the side of his car holding a .380 pistol. Tallant walked towards the deputy, ignoring commands to drop his weapon. Tenbrink fired a shot when Tallant raised his weapon, and when Tallant still did not drop his gun, Tallant fired three more times. Tallant fell down and Tenbrink heard a single shot. An autopsy found that Tallant shot himself once in the head and was also struck twice in the chest. It was inconclusive as to which of the bullets caused his death.
Source: “After deputy shot him, troubled man shot himself, report says,” heraldnet.com, June 12, 2015.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Dennis Clark III SHOT AND KILLED DURING INCIDENT
Date: April 21, 2013
People Killed: 4
Circumstances: On April 21, 2013, concealed handgun permit holder Dennis Clark III, 27, shot and killed four people before being killed by police. The shootings began when Clark shot and killed his girlfriend Justine Baez, 24, in the apartment they shared in Federal Way, Washington. According to police, after leaving the apartment, Clark confronted Ceasar Valdovinos, 23, and Bradley Fischer, 47, and argued with them before fatally shooting them both. Roland Scobee, 62, reportedly heard the commotion and went outside to investigate before retreating back to his apartment to call 911. Clark then broke his door down with a shotgun and killed him. According to Federal Way Police Chief Brian Wilson, officers responding to the shootings were confronted by Clark wielding a shotgun in a stairway. Officers fired at Clark but he fled to a parking lot. As officers again approached Clark he reached for a handgun and officers opened fire, killing Clark.
Source: “Last victim ID’d from Federal Way apartment shooting,” The News Tribune, April 30, 2013; “Man killed live-in girlfriend, 3 others in Washington apartment shooting, police say,” Associated Press, April 22, 2013.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Dinh Bowman CONVICTED
Date: August 31, 2012
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On August 31, 2012, concealed handgun permit holder Dinh Bowman, 29, allegedly pulled his silver BMW Z4 convertible alongside the vehicle of Yancy Noll, 43, at a stoplight and fired five shots from a 9mm handgun at Noll, hitting him three times in the head, killing him. Bowman then reportedly sped away. An anonymous tipster lead police to Bowman, and eventually they located his car, which he had worked on to disguise following the incident. According to press reports, detectives also found a “gun room” where “Bowman had set up a sort of laboratory dedicated to his obsession with guns.” Bowman was charged with first degree murder.
UPDATE: In December 2014, Dinh Bowman was found guilty of first degree murder in the death of Yancy Noll. On January 2, 2015, Bowman was sentenced to 350 months in prison plus 36 months community custody when he is released.
Source: “Murderer learns fate for North Seattle ‘thrill killing’,” kirotv.com, January 2, 2015; “First-degree murder charged in shooting of Seattle wine steward,” The Seattle Times, September 26, 2012.; Certification for Determination of Probable Cause, Seattle Police Department.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Ian Stawicki SUICIDE
Date: May 30, 2012
People Killed: 6 (including shooter)
Circumstances: At approximately 11:00 AM on May 30, 2012, concealed handgun permit holder Ian Stawicki, 40, opened fire at Café Racer in Seattle’s University District, killing four of the restaurant’s patrons. Stawicki had been banned from the Café as the result of past behavior and was reminded of that when he returned that morning. According to a news report quoting a Café employee who was the only person shot who survived, “It was clear…that Stawicki wanted everyone dead, shooting the victims once and `then he double-tapped everyone.’” Stawicki, armed with two 45 caliber handguns, then left the restaurant and 30 minutes after the shooting confronted Gloria Leonidas, a mother of two. Stawicki fatally shot Leonidas and stole her Mercedes SUV. The vehicle was eventually found abandoned by police, with a gun on the seat. While searching the area law enforcement came upon Stawicki, who, when ordered to drop his weapon, put the gun to his head and fatally shot himself. Stawicki had suffered from mental illness for years. His family, fearing for his deteriorating mental condition, tried unsuccessfully to have his carry permit revoked. Said his father, “The response to us was, there’s nothing we can do, he’s not a threat to himself or others, or we haven’t had a report of it, or we haven’t had to pick him up—call us when it’s worse. And now it’s too late—much worse now, six people are dead.”
Source: “Survivor of Café Racer massacre speaks about shooting,” mynorthwest.com, June 12, 2012; “Seattle gun massacre hero reveals he vowed to ‘never hide under the table’ after brother died in 9/11,” The Daily Mail, June 1, 2012; “Seattle Café Shooter Kills 5, and Himself After Citywide Manhunt,” abcnewsgo.com, May 31, 2012; “Family: Seattle gunman had a concealed weapon permit,” komonews.com, May 31, 2012.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Eric Vita UNINTENTIONAL
Date: March 14, 2012
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On March 14, 2012, three-year-old Julio Segura-McIntosh fatally shot himself with a gun he found in his family’s car when his family stopped for gas in Tacoma, Washington. When the family stopped to get gas just after midnight, Julio’s mother, Jahnisha McIntosh, 23, put her boyfriend’s 9mm pistol under the seat and went into the convenience store, leaving their son and daughter in the car. Her boyfriend, Eric Vita, 22, has a concealed weapons permit. The boy climbed out of his car seat, found the gun, and shot himself in the head. The girl was not injured. Detectives originally ruled the shooting unintentional. “You can’t predict what children are going to do,” noted Tacoma police Officer Naveed Benjamin. “You need to unload and lock it up if you’re not carrying it….It’s really not that hard to practice firearm safety.”
UPDATE: On March 28, 2012, Eric Vita, 22, and Jahnisha McIntosh, 23, were charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of three-year-old Julio Segura-McIntosh. According to prosecutors, Julio unbuckled himself from the back seat and climbed to the front to ask his mother for candy. She then moved the handgun from under the passenger seat to under the driver’s seat to prevent Julio from reaching it. She then went into the convenience store leaving Julio in the car where he found the gun and shot himself in the head. Detectives were told that Vita routinely showed off the gun which was equipped with a laser sight and once offered to let Julio hold it before another adult intervened.
UPDATE: On November 18, 2013, Jahnisha McIntosh pled guilty to second degree manslaughter in the death of Julio Segura-McIntosh. She was sentenced to time served. In July 2013, the manslaughter charge against Eric Vita was dismissed.
Source: “Tacoma woman pleads guilty in son’s death, gets no prison time,” The News Tribune, November 18, 2013; “Jahnisha McIntosh Charged with Manslaughter After Son, 3, Shot Himself With Found Gun,” The Huffington Post, March 28, 2012; “3-year-old boy in Wash. kills self with gun in car,” Associated Press, March 14, 2012.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Cornelius J. De Jong IV CONVICTED
Date: February 12, 2012
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On February 12, 2012, concealed handgun permit holder Cornelius J. De Jong IV, 21, allegedly shot Claire Thompson, 20, in the neck with a 40 caliber pistol and killed her. Both De Jong and Thompson were attending a party early in the morning when De Jong fired the handgun, which he thought was unloaded. The bullet traveled through a wall and hit Thompson who was standing on the other side of the wall. De Jong, who had past convictions for driving under the influence and minor in possession of alcohol, was charged with first-degree manslaughter with bail set at $300,000. One neighbor told the press that the house where the party was held was “constantly a source of police activity….It’s a very sad house and a source of neighborhood concern.”
UPDATE: On September 17, 2012, Cornelius De Jong IV pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter in the killing of Claire Thompson. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.
Source: “Redmond man pleads guilty in woman’s shooting death,” Redmond Reporter, September 21, 2012; “Redmond man charged in connection with fatal shooting on Education Hill,” Redmond-Reporter, February 14, 2012.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Ty Takaezu SUICIDE
Date: May 8, 2011
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On May 8, 2011, Kara M. Leonard, 31, was target shooting on Mother’s Day with concealed handgun permit holder Ty Takaezu, when, at some point during the activity, Leonard used Takaezu’s handgun to commit suicide, shooting herself in the head. Leonard, the daughter of a Portland city commissioner, was recovering from long-time heroin addiction and left behind a 12-year-old son.
Source: “Daughter of city commissioner dies from gunshot wound,” KATU News, May 8, 2011.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Amanda Knight CONVICTED
Date: April 28, 2010
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On April 28, 2010, Amanda Knight, 21, was part of a group of four criminals who took part in a home-invasion robbery that resulted in the death of James Sanders, 43. Sanders was shot and killed after Knight and three others came to his home purportedly to purchase a ring that had been advertised on Craigslist. During the robbery, Sanders’ wife was tied up and one of his sons was pistol-whipped. Knight and her accomplices were also suspects in a prior home-invasion robbery. According to press reports, Sanders’ widow, Charlene, “felt chills” when she saw Knight in court, stating, “I remember that face when I was zip-tied on the floor, looking up at her.” Knight, who had a concealed handgun permit, was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and second-degree assault.
UPDATE: In April 2011, Amanda Knight was found guilty of first-degree murder in the killing of James Sanders. She was also found guilty of robbery and assault. On May 13, 2011, she was sentenced to more than 71 years in prison for her crimes.
Source: “Woman gets 71-year prison term for Craigslist killing,” www.komonews.com, May 13, 2011; “4th Edgewood suspect ID’d,” The News Tribune, May 6, 2010; “Craigslist Murder Suspects Arrested in Bay Area,” www.ktvu.com, May 5, 2010.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Keira S. Earhart CONVICTED
Date: November 16, 2009
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On November 16, 2009, Keira S. Earhart shot and killed Ryan A. Rzechula following a burglary at Earhart’s home. Earhart called 911 to report a burglary at his home after being alerted to the break-in on a call to his cell phone from his home alarm service. After rushing home, he saw a man running out, and gave chase. A few hours later, Earhart again called 911 and told deputies he was looking for the burglar and spotted a man who looked like him. He claimed he yelled at the man who then took off across a field. Deputies were unable to locate the man. A witness later said he saw a man with a gun and heard him yell, “Stop,” at another man, who ran away. The witness reported hearing two gunshots. Two days later a neighbor called 911 to report finding Rzechula’s body in a creek bed near where the shots were heard on Monday. Rzechula had jewelry in his pocket that matched what had been taken from Earhart’s home. Earhart, who had a concealed weapons permit, was arrested and charged with second degree murder.
UPDATE: In July 2011, Keira Earhart was found guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Ryan Rzechula. Prosecutors asked for an 18-year prison term, but on August 24, 2011, the judge in the case said the more appropriate punishment would be a sentence more typical for manslaughter and sentenced Earhart to 12 years in prison.
Source: “Arlington man who fatally shot burglar gets 12 years for murder,” Heraldnet.com, August 25, 2011; “Victim of alleged burglary now a suspect in killing,” Heraldnet.com, November 20, 2009.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Richard Peters CONVICTED
Date: November 16, 2008
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On November 16, 2008, six-year-old Stormy Peters was accidentally shot and killed by her father, concealed handgun permit holder Richard Peters, while he was cleaning his guns with her and drinking double shots of vodka. According to news reports, Peters was at home with his wife when he sent Stormy upstairs to retrieve his Colt Double Eagle 45 caliber handgun from his night stand. Peters told investigators that he had drunk several double vodkas when one of the guns discharged, striking his daughter in the head. Peters told deputies that he had been in the military, was “very proficient” with firearms, and that all of his children handled weapons. After the fatal shooting, Child Protective Services removed Peters’ two other children, ages three and eight, from the home. Peters, 42, was charged with first degree manslaughter with a deadly weapon.
UPDATE: In November 2009, Richard Peters was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of his six-year-old daughter Stormy. He could face more than 13 years in prison at sentencing.
Source: “Marysville man convicted of manslaughter in shooting death of 6-year-old daughter,” pnwlocalnews.com, November 24, 2009; “Marysville man charged in fatal shooting of 6-year-old
daughter,” Daily Herald, November 19, 2008; “Marysville man held in shooting of daughter, 6,” Seattle Times, November 18, 2008.