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Violence and death stain Federal Way in 2008

In 2008, a homicide has taken place in Federal Way nearly each month so far.

Violent crime — murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault — has decreased in Washington state in recent years, police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said. Statewide, violent crimes decreased 3.8 percent in 2007 compared to 2006, according to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Crime in Washington 2007 Annual Report. The trend has been seen in Federal Way as well, Schrock said.

Violent crime, including assault with a firearm, has decreased, she said. But more of the assaults happening in Federal Way this year have ended in death. In 2006, one homicide occurred. Three slayings took place in 2007. A total of five homicides have plagued the city so far this year.

“It’s definitely more as far as the total number of homicides this year,” Schrock said.

2008 slayings

The Aug. 14 shooting death of Omero Mendez, 26, at Lakota Middle School, 1415 S.W. 314th St., is the latest Federal Way homicide. Police identified 16-year-old Kent resident Luis Cosgaya-Alvarez as the prime suspect and arrested him Monday in connection to the shooting; prosecutors charged him with second-degree murder on Monday.

On July 18, 19-year-old Vadim Grib was shot and killed at the Park at Dash Point Apartments, 31736 50th Lane S.W. Upon arrival, police found the man dead from a gunshot wound.

Prior to the incident, approximately 15 people had gathered in the parking lot for an unknown reason, Schrock said. An argument broke out, leading up to the shooting, she said.

Police arrested a 20-year-old suspect the same day of the shooting, but he was released when the King County Prosecutor’s Office announced it needed a more thorough investigation before prosecutors were comfortable filing charges against the man. As of Friday, charges had not been filed, prosecutor’s office spokesman Dan Donohoe said. Police have not announced any other suspects.

On June 22, a 7-month-old infant was found dead in an outdoor fire pit. The baby boy suffered burns to the majority of his body. His father, Alberto Rios, 37, told police the family had a party earlier in the day and he had consumed three to six alcoholic beverages before falling asleep by a backyard fire pit with the infant on his chest and his 4-year-old daughter at his side, according to police documents. A medical examiner’s report revealed the infant was alive upon entering the fire pit.

Rios has had several run-ins with the law and has been deported on multiple occasions. He has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and was last scheduled to appear in court Aug. 19 for a status conference.

On May 3, Baerbel Roznowski, 66, was allegedly slain by her live-in boyfriend, Chan Kim. Roznowski sought an anti-harassment order against Kim, also known as Paul Kim, two days prior. The couple dated for 16 years and police were called to the home in regards to domestic disputes in 2006 and April 2008. Police served Kim with the order at 8:13 a.m. May 3 at Roznowski’s home.

Kim left the residence, but returned hours later. At 11:26 a.m., police returned to the home to complete a welfare check on Kim, who was reported despondent and possibly suicidal. They witnessed Kim attempting to harm himself with a knife. Officers forced entry into the home, retrieved the knife and

secured the suspect. They found Roznowski dead with multiple stab wounds.

Chan is charged with murder in the first degree and is scheduled to appear in court for a case setting Aug. 26.

On March 18, Jane Carol Britt, 75, was slain outside the Garden Terrace Alzheimer’s Center residential facility at 491 S. 338th St. in Federal Way. Britt, a resident of Twin Lakes, visited the center the previous day to see her husband, who was a resident there.

Her body was found by police in the trunk of her car, which was parked at the residential facility. Her cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation. Joseph N. Njonge, 24, a nursing assistant at Garden Terrace at the time, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder. Njonge’s trial is scheduled for Nov. 3.

A Jan. 20 shooting at the Metro Transit Center left Darrel Miller, 38, dead. Miller had no apparent connection to the shooter, who was shooting at another male, former police spokeswoman Stacy Flores said in January. Glenn C. Proctor, 20, turned himself in and was arrested in connection to the shooting on Feb. 9. He pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. Proctor will appear in court for a case setting Sept. 4.

The homicides have kept detectives busy. But in each case in 2008, they have identified and arrested a suspect within a month’s time.

“During an active investigation like (the latest), we will use all the detectives we have to work it,” Schrock said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565

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