News

Road rage leads to shooting, cell call

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

A 59-year-old Algona man arrested for shooting a Federal Way man after a traffic altercation at the bottom of Peasley Canyon Road on July 22 has been charged with first-degree assault.

Michael John Relfe, 59, will be arraigned in King County Superior Court Aug. 5 in connection with the shooting of the driver of a flatbed truck, who Relfe said sideswiped his gold Forb Probe in traffic, according to court papers.

Police did not release the name of the victim, but Sgt. Greg Dymerski, spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s Office, said the man was 38.

A witness who lives near the scene of the shooting told police he was on the roof of his garage about 7:30 p.m. when he saw the truck and the Probe stopped at the curb in front of his house. He told police the men had left their vehicles and were arguing in the street behind the truck in the 4700 block of South 301st Drive.

He said the victim had turned away from Relfe and was climbing back into his truck when Relfe shot him in the back with a handgun. Police identified the weapon as a .38 Special revolver.

King County police initially thought the driver of the truck had been shot once, but surgery at Harborview Medical Center revealed the man had been shot twice — in the back and side, Dymerski said.

According to charging papers, the flatbed driver called his wife on a cell phone and told her he’d been shot, that he was going to die and that he loved her and his daughter. He then handed the cell phone to Relfe, who apologized for shooting him.

Relfe told police the other driver had intentionally sideswiped his car in traffic and he had pursued the truck to get a license plate number. He said the driver of the truck pulled over and assaulted him three times before he shot him.

Relfe told police he shot the man in self-defense. He said he pulled the gun to scare the man, but he could see that he shot him, according to charging papers.

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng said Relfe poses a severe threat to the community based the time of day and residential location where the shooting occurred. Relfe, who has non-felony convictions for domestic violence assault in 1986 and injury to property in 1987, is being held on $250,000 bail at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.

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