Police search for Federal Way man suspected of murdering teen over marijuana theft

Police search for Federal Way man suspected of murdering teen over marijuana theft

Charging documents state the teen met up to fight the suspect over stolen marijuana when the teen was fatally shot in a Fife parking lot.

Fife police are searching for a Federal Way man who they suspect murdered a 17-year-old after the two allegedly met up on May 13 to fight over a marijuana theft.

Shawn Thomas Cooke, 21, was charged on Monday with first-degree and second-degree murder in the killing of Todd Beamer High School student Cameron Wilson, according to Pierce County Superior Court documents.

A bench warrant was issued on Monday for Cooke’s arrest and police are currently searching for his whereabouts.

Wilson’s body was found with a gunshot wound to his chest in a Fife parking lot near Pacific Highway East and Willow Road.

During the investigation, detectives retrieved video footage from businesses near the murder scene from the night of May 12 to the morning of May 13. Video shows a person wearing similar clothing to what Wilson was clothed in walking east on Pacific Highway East toward Domino’s Pizza at 12:17 a.m., according to charging documents.

Video also shows a silver Chrysler Sebring with no front license plate enter the parking lot at 12:20 a.m., drive around the area, then park in the Domino’s lot.

A pedestrian that police believe was Wilson approached the vehicle. Within 20 seconds, the Sebring left eastbound on Pacific Highway East at a high rate of speed. The video footage also shows an unrelated vehicle drove by a few minutes later and its headlights lit up the parking lot, showing Wilson’s body lying in the parking lot where the Sebring had been parked, the documents continue.

Wilson’s friends told detectives during an interview that Wilson had received several calls, texts and messages throughout the day on May 12 on various social media accounts from Cooke. The friends told police that in February, Wilson stole a “large quantity of marijuana” from a male they believed was associated with Cooke, according to charging documents. Cooke was reported to be the boyfriend of a female who also attended Todd Beamer High School.

Wilson’s friends said Cooke told Wilson to come to the Domino’s in Fife and fight the person Wilson stole the marijuana from. They also reported that one of the messages indicated that Cooke would bring a gun with him if Wilson would not meet up with Cooke and the suspect had to search him out. The friends provided police with a screen shot of the suspect, who police identified as Cooke, a former Todd Beamer High School student.

Police determined that Cooke was the registered owner of a silver Chrysler Sebring, and that the Federal Way Police Department had recently stopped him for driving that vehicle with no front license plate. Detectives issued a statewide bulletin to law enforcement in an effort to locate the suspect.

A Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy observed Cooke and his girlfriend in a Cle Elum restaurant on May 12. The deputy followed the two after they left the restaurant, stopped their Ford Explorer and arrested Cooke.

In an interview, Cooke denied any knowledge of Wilson’s murder, but he admitted trying to set up a fight the night of the shooting between Wilson and another person who Cooke said Wilson had previously stolen marijuana from. Cooke said the male plays golf for a local high school and had a tournament the next day, so he refused to come out and fight Wilson.

He said he went to his friend’s house with his girlfriend and smoked marijuana for most of the night on May 12 until around 3 a.m. on May 13.

When asked about why his vehicle was at the murder scene, Cooke said, “If my car was there, it was there, but I wasn’t driving it,” according to the documents.

He said he had lost his car and its keys, so he was not driving the Sebring either the day of the murder or the day before. He said he and his girlfriend bought a new Ford Explorer from a Tacoma business and they were on their way to go camping in the Cle Elum area before police stopped them. Police released Cooke after the interview pending further investigation.

Cooke’s friend confirmed with police that Cooke was at his home the night of the murder, however, he was intoxicated on marijuana and alcohol and did not know specifically what time Cooke came or left. The friend also told police that Cooke and his girlfriend had arrived at his home in Cooke’s silver Sebring.

Detectives also interviewed the male who Wilson stole marijuana from. He initially denied knowing Cooke but eventually said he knew him. He denied any knowledge of Wilson’s murder and claimed he was at home asleep during the shooting, which his parents verified.

Police contacted the owner of the Tacoma business where Cooke had bought the Ford Explorer on the afternoon of May 13. The owner said Cooke paid cash for the down payment and insisted the vehicle be registered in his girlfriend’s name. The owner said Cooke had also purchased the silver Sebring from his business. Each vehicle the business sells is equipped with a GPS unit that is active until the vehicle is paid in full. The GPS location data showed Cooke’s Sebring had “pinged” at a location in Northeast Tacoma near Cooke’s friend’s home. Police attempted to locate the vehicle there but were unsuccessful.

The GPS data also showed the Sebring was near Cooke and his girlfriend’s apartment at 6 p.m. on May 12 and at 6 a.m. on May 13 — before and after Wilson’s murder. Police later located Cooke’s Sebring on the side of the road in South Tacoma, and believe it was dropped there on May 15 or 16.

During a search of the Explorer, police recovered a backpack with various felony drugs, a stolen handgun and a purse, which also contained a handgun. They also recovered three cell phones, and noted there was no camping equipment inside the vehicle.

Detectives also obtained video footage from the apartment complex where Cooke and his girlfriend reside. The video shows Cooke’s silver Sebring parking in a parking stall on May 12, and again on May 13 during the time period when Cooke told police he had lost his Sebring and keys. The video shows Cooke and his girlfriend exiting the vehicle and entering the hallway to their apartment. Cooke is carrying the backpack that police found in the Explorer; his girlfriend is carrying the purse.

A search of the cell phones found from the Explorer show communications between social media accounts associated with Cooke, his girlfriend, Wilson and two of Cooke’s friends, including the one who said Wilson stole marijuana from him. The data from Cooke’s phone shows there was communication between Cooke and Wilson shortly before he was shot. This includes Snapchat calls between them, the last one less than two hours before Wilson was shot. The data also shows that Cooke’s phone was used to search maps for Domino’s in Milton and Fife, about 40 minutes prior to the murder.

Data from the girlfriend’s phone shows that she was in close proximity to the Domino’s in Fife during the time Wilson was shot.

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