News

Man charged with murder in Maher's shooting

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng announced he will seek aggravated first-degree murder and second-degree assault charges against a man accused of fatally shooting Federal Way Police Officer Patrick Maher last Saturday.

Jason Scott Roberts, 28, is scheduled to be arraigned in King County Superior Court Aug. 13. Maleng will have 30 days from the arraignment to decide whether to seek the death penalty against him.

Roberts is being held without bail at the King County Jail in Seattle, where he was transferred last week to provide higher security since he is being charged with a capital crime.

According to charging papers, Maher was near a gas station on South 272nd Street and Pacific Highway South last Saturday morning when he was approached by a woman who asked him to help break up a fight between her boyfriend and his brother.

Roberts’ brother had confronted him in the parking lot of the gas station because Roberts had been stealing from his family, including checks and cell phones, to support a drug habit, police said.

Roberts told police after his arrest he had smoked crack cocaine two days prior to the shooting and had drunk four 22-ounce beers 24 hours before the shooting.

According to court records, Maher broke up the fight and told Roberts to sit on the curb in front of the gas station while he called for assistance. Roberts, got up and ran across South 272nd Street toward a strip mall.

His brother ran after him and caught him, according to charging papers, and Maher caught up to them a few seconds later. As the two brothers struggled on the pavement, Maher dropped down to his knees to handcuff Roberts.

A police radio transmission recording shows Maher got on the radio and said he had the suspect in custody just before Roberts grabbed his gun with both hands and pulled it out of the snapped holster at his side.

Roberts apparently aimed the gun at his brother’s girlfriend first, and she moved to hide behind a tree. Roberts then aimed the gun at his brother’s head.

As Maher struggled with him to get possession of the gun, Roberts fired it into his abdomen. The bullet entered his pelvic region below his flak vest, severing several vital blood vessels, according to charging papers.

Roberts brother, seeing that Roberts had shot and injured Maher, held Roberts at the scene until more officers could arrive and arrest him, according to charging papers.

Roberts continued to struggle and fight for possession of the gun, but his brother managed to release the magazine clip and toss the gun out of his brother’s reach.

When additional police and ambulances arrived, they arrested Roberts and transported Maher to Harborview Medical Center, where he died at 4:30 p.m.

Police learned Roberts has a history of violence and a criminal record that includes domestic violence convictions against his family, violation of a protection order, and fleeing from police.

According to charging papers, five months ago, Roberts choked his father and beat him in the face.

Police said Roberts family tried to get him to change his life, but just before the shooting, his father issued a restraining order against him that prohibited him from entering the home they shared with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565: ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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