Prosecutors charge Federal Way man in Saturday murder

King County prosecutors charged a Federal Way man Monday in a murder that shook a local house party on Saturday.

Dario Martinez-Castro, 18, is being held on $1 million bail for first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of 21-year-old Pedro Ramirez-Perez. Martinez-Castro will be arraigned on April 24 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Federal Way police were called to reports of a shooting at 32617 16th Court S.W. at approximately 2:30 a.m., Saturday. According to charging documents, a party-goer flagged down officers as they approached the scene and took them to the house.

When officers arrived, multiple people were surrounding a black Charger that was parked in the driveway of the house. Ramirez-Perez was hanging outside of the vehicle with several gunshot wounds to his torso.

Police took the victim to medics, but he died in the ambulance before he was transported to a hospital.

Detectives interviewed the person who lived at the residence, who told them he had about 15 people over, including the victim and Martinez-Castro.

At about 2 a.m., several party goers witnessed a fist fight break out between Ramirez-Perez and Martinez-Castro. The resident said it started as an argument about who made more money. The two fought until they were separated but shook hands after, according to the party-goer police initially met outside of the house.

That same witness said the suspect left with some friends but returned 15 minutes later by himself. The witness told police he watched the suspect pull out a black handgun, aim and shoot the victim at least three times. The victim was dancing with a female at the time.

According to the charging documents, the suspect fled, and the witness followed him toward the direction of Martinez-Castro’s home. As he chased him, Martinez-Castro allegedly turned around and pointed a gun at the witness, charging documents state.

The witness saw the suspect, stopped and put his hands in the air before the suspect resumed running. The witness ran back to the victim, but, according to his statement, “after holding Pedro in his arms, he became angrier and was running back to toward Dario’s house” when police contacted him outside the crime scene.

Detectives also interviewed the girl the victim was dancing with when he was shot. She told them she had seen the fight between the victim and suspect earlier and recognized the suspect when he returned. She said he was wearing a different colored hoodie, which was pulled up around his face as if to conceal it, but she recognized him, nonetheless. She also told police the victim’s back was toward the suspect as he fired, while she faced him.

All witnesses positively identified the suspect either by name or through a photo montage.

After speaking with him by phone, detectives met with Martinez-Castro at a local restaurant and arrested him. Martinez-Castro, however, maintained his innocence to police, according to charging documents.

Post-Miranda, the suspect told police he fought with the victim but that he “got over it” and left the party at 12:45 a.m. and went “straight” to his friend’s house and fell asleep on the couch at about 1 a.m. He awoke later to find his mother had called multiple times.

“He did not show any emotion when he was told that he was facing murder 1 charges,” court documents state. “He continued to state, ‘I didn’t do it.’ ”

The suspect agreed to allow police to search his cell phone but revoked consent after detectives discovered Martinez-Castro called his friend at 1:53 a.m., 1:59 a.m. and 2:39 a.m. According to the charging documents, detectives spoke to Martinez-Castro’s friend, who told them the suspect had arrived at his home closer to 3 a.m., not at 1 a.m., as previously indicated. Calls to 911 were made at 2:32 a.m.

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