A Federal Way man was charged with first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm on Wednesday after allegedly fatally shooting a man at a SeaTac park on July 5 in “a tragic case of mistaken identity,” according to court documents.
Eson Herr, 26, was charged on July 10, according to King County Superior Court documents. Latecia Fortune, Herr’s 29-year-old girlfriend, was also charged with first-degree felony rendering criminal assistance.
Herr’s bail was set at $2 million and Fortune’s bail was set at $500,000.
The shooting happened at about 7:20 p.m. on Friday, July 5 when the victim was at Valley Ridge Park, located in the 4400 block of S. 188th St. in SeaTac.
Detectives determined through their investigation that Herr drove through the park’s parking lot in a Dodge Charger with unique characteristics. He allegedly said a racial slur to the victim and then fired multiple rounds, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
“With children playing in a nearby playground, and adults playing soccer at the nearby fields, and in broad daylight … [Herr] pulled up next to the victim and fired several shots from a handgun striking the victim multiple times,” the documents state.
The victim, 29-year-old Federal Way resident Zula Mehari Werede, died at the scene. Witnesses with the victim prior to the shooting said Werede had “simply come to the park to play soccer with a group of friends.”
According to investigative interviews, Herr was involved in a gunfire incident with an individual who looked similar to the victim, but was not the victim, one year earlier. The interviewee said Herr probably shot Werede thinking it was the same person who had fired shots at Herr more than a year before, documents state.
Herr fled the scene on July 5 and eluded capture for several days, in which time he and Fortune allegedly took steps to cover up the shooting, the documents continue.
Days after the crime and in conjunction with Herr, Fortune allegedly directed others to remove multiple firearms from the residences she lived in with Herr and provided instructions for later retrieval of the guns.
Federal Way police found the vehicle a day later and established the vehicle belonged to Herr.
Herr and Fortune were arrested on July 8 when the King County Sheriff’s Office located the man at a home in Federal Way that he is known to associate with, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Criminal history shows Herr has six prior felony convictions including unlawful firearm possession, first-degree burglary and vehicle theft.
Herr’s arraignment hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. on July 24 at King County Superior Court.