This afternoon a King County judge set bail at $2 million for each of the two suspects in the Sunday morning shooting at a hip-hop concert at Chop Suey.
The first of the two suspects, 25 year old Roger Labranche of Everett, was arrested at the scene of the crime on Sunday morning after he had been grabbed and detained by clubgoers in the aftermath of the shooting. The second, Carlos Bernandez, 18, was arrested by the SWAT team at his parent’s residence in Seattle yesterday afternoon following a stakeout. He later confessed his role in the shootings to police.
Witnesses to the crime had identified Bernandez as the first shooter who knocked on a back door to the club and fired several shots, striking all three of the victims. After this, witnesses say that Mr. Labranche chased down one of the Victims (“Victim A”) and fired one round at him. It’s not clear if that shot struck its target. Victim A sustained the least serious injuries of the three victims. He was treated at Harborview and later released.
According to court documents, the shooting was part of a long-running dispute between Victim A and Mr. Labranche, but the exact nature of that dispute is not detailed in the filings. Victim A had seen Labranche outside of the club earlier in the evening talking to a man that was later identified as Mr. Bernandez. Mr. Benandez claims that he knew Labranche from working together, and was approached by Labranche that night, given a Colt .45, and told that he was needed to help shoot someone. Bernandez claims he participated because of a threat of force made by Labranche.
If there’s any good news here, it’s that this violence was part of an interpersonal issue between one man and one of the victims, and not part of any larger gang activity or pattern of retaliation. The fact that it happened in a crowded night club and took the life of one man and severely injured another is just awful. And we’ll have to watch to see if the charges against Labranche can hold up if it’s found that he didn’t actually fire the fatal shot. I’ve heard that his lawyer is already disputing the version of events told by Bernandez.
Formal charges are expected later in the week.