A 30-year-old Federal Way man was charged with first-degree assault on Friday after police said he shot a newspaper delivery driver five times, including in his face, on May 25.
Daniel Morgan McLaughlin told the court he was in possession of 30 or more firearms, he has been treated for anxiety and depression and admitted to using heroin and/or opiates and alcohol, according to King County Superior Court charging documents. In light of those issues, prosecutors noted he is likely to commit an act of violence and requested for $1 million bail, however, a judge granted $500,000.
According to prosecutors, McLaughlin allegedly shot the unarmed victim — 39-year-old Travis Zimmerman — after following him as he delivered newspapers in the Twin Lakes area at approximately 3 a.m. in the 31600 block of37th Ave. SW.
The documents continue the victim noticed the defendant following him, and McLaughlin allegedly attempted to block the victim’s car. Zimmerman walked over to McLaughlin’s truck with a newspaper in his hand and said that he was just delivering newspapers, according to the documents.
“The defendant, without a word to the victim, pulled his gun out and pointed at the victim’s face and fired,” prosecutors stated in court documents. “The victim was shocked and turned and ran away.”
As Zimmerman ran, McLaughlin allegedly continued to fire, shooting the victim at close range in his back, lower abdomen, buttocks and legs.
Zimmerman was also on the phone with his girlfriend at the time, and she told police she heard the gunshots followed by Zimmerman shouting, “You shot my face,” according to the documents.
When Zimmerman fell to the ground and tried to drag himself to the safety of his car, residents came out of their homes when they heard the shooting.
A male witness on scene applied pressure to Zimmerman’s gunshot wounds until police arrived. The victim was transported to Harborview Medical Center, where he was in serious, but stable condition.
Officers were able to locate a vehicle matching the description of the suspect vehicle in the area at the time of the incident utilizing Safe City cameras, and video footage from residents.
Video footage from one city camera showed a white truck traveling southbound on Hoyt Road Southwest and Southwest 340th Street, and 21st Avenue Southwest and Southwest 356th Street. This truck had a black stripe on the left side and a silver toolbox in the truck bed.
Additional video footage obtained from the area of Hoyt Road Southwest and Soutwest 320th Street showed the same truck traveling westbound on Southwest 320th Street.
Police obtained video footage from a resident showing a truck with a silver toolbox traveling northbound in the 3800 block of SW 313th St., and additional footage showing Zimmeran’s vehicle driving southbound in the same location as McLaughlin followed him.
SWAT and Special Investigation Unit detectives conducted hours of surveillance at the suspect’s Federal Way residence until at about 11 p.m. Tuesday, May 28 when McLaughlin was arrested, without incident, as he exited his residence, police said.
During a subsequent interview of the suspect, he confessed to his involvement in the incident. He told police he “should have contacted you guys earlier,” according to charging documents.
However, he also told police that the victim was following him.
McLaughlin said he was driving around in the neighborhood when a guy started yelling at him and followed him. He said he crossed paths with Zimmerman, who accused McLaughlin of following him, exited his vehicle and walked towards McLaughlin’s vehicle. He said Zimmerman tried to open his door and pull him out of his truck, so McLaughlin took his pistol out, fired three rounds then quickly drove away.
McLaughlin stated he wanted to get “as far away from this crazy guy as I could,” the documents continue.
On Wednesday, May 29, officers executed a search warrant at McLaughlin’s Federal Way home and discovered a Glock 26.9 mm along with several firearms in his bedroom. Police also discovered numerous fired cartridge cases in McLaughlin’s truck, including at least one 9mm casing similar to the ones found at the scene.
A family friend of Zimmerman has set up a GoFundMe account to help with the family’s financial challenges during this time. So far, the page has collected over $29,000 in donations of the $50,000 goal.