Teen arrested in string of armed robberies; police search for 2 more suspects

Suspects had been charged with robbing a Federal Way pawn shop; both teens reportedly cut off their home monitoring devices.

Seattle Police arrested one of two teens in Kent on April 11 wanted in connection to the fatal shooting of a Tacoma marijuana shop employee in March.

The 15-year-old suspect was transported to Remann Hall Pierce County Juvenile Detention Center and booked for first-degree murder, according to Tacoma Police.

Police are still searching 16-year-old Montrell Hatfield, who is considered armed and dangerous, in connection to the March 19 shooting at World of Weed dispensary.

Employee Jordan Brown, 29, was shot and killed around 10 p.m. at the dispensary near Portland Avenue East and East 32nd Street in Tacoma. Hatfield allegedly got into a physical altercation with Brown before the 15-year-old suspect fatally shot him, Pierce County charging documents state.

Hatfield was charged with first-degree murder on March 24. He is described as a Black male, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 130 pounds. Hatfield also has a prosthetic leg that causes him to walk with a limp, documents state.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or 911.

The two juveniles also face charges for allegedly robbing a Federal Way pawn shop at gunpoint in February, stealing over $24,000 and jewelry, and forcing employees and customers to lie on the floor at gunpoint.

Hatfield and the 15-year-old suspect were both charged with first-degree robbery and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in King County Superior Court on Feb. 25.

At the first appearance on Feb. 24, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office argued the teens should be kept in juvenile detention, said spokesperson Casey McNerthney. They were released on electronic home monitoring by Chief Juvenile Judge Averil Rothrock.

Both of the teens allegedly escaped from home detention after cutting off their home monitoring devices on March 16, according to Pierce County court documents. Felony warrants were then issued for their arrests.

The two teens are also suspects in at least 10 additional armed robberies in Pierce and King counties with similar modus operandi, according to Pierce County charging documents. That includes the Feb. 22 robbery in Federal Way.

According to the King County Superior Court charging documents:

At about 3:30 p.m. Feb. 22, three suspects — two identified as Hatfield and the 15-year-old now in custody — entered the Elite Pawn shop near the 29100 block of Pacific Highway South in Federal Way. The store’s owner called police, stating three boys wearing masks and armed with handguns entered the store and were “forcing employees and customers to lie on the floor.”

The owner witnessed the robbery on the store’s surveillance cameras and was able to escape out a back door.

Upon entering the store, the suspects aimed their guns at employees and customers. One suspect was carrying a large semiautomatic pistol with a weapon light.

The 15-year-old and the third suspect allegedly stood over customers lying on the sales floor while Hatfield allegedly forced the store’s manager at gunpoint to take him to the store’s safe, documents state. Fearing for his life, the manager complied and gave Hatfield approximately $20,000 in cash and assorted jewelry.

At one point, documents state Hatfield allegedly struck the manager across the face with the gun, stating “I know you have more, (expletive).”

On the sales floor, the 15-year-old reportedly fired a single shot at the store’s wall to gain compliance from the customers. He then allegedly went to the sales counter, pointed his gun at an employee and ordered the employee to empty the till. Approximately $10,000 in cash was placed in a plastic bag he brought with him.

The three suspects then fled the store in a blue 2003 Volkswagen Passat, which had been waiting in the parking lot. A customer then drew his own concealed handgun and fired a single shot at the fleeing vehicle, documents state.

Leaving the store’s parking lot, the Volkswagen crashed into another car driving north on Pacific Highway South.

The driver did not stop, and continued driving north on Pacific Highway South until abandoning the vehicle at a Park and Ride lot, documents state.

Witnesses told police the suspects fled into a nearby apartment complex. Using a K-9 track, police tracked the suspects through the complex, following a trail of masks and headwear the suspects discarded as they ran.

Police eventually found the 15-year-old and Hatfield hiding in a stairwell, documents state. The third suspect was seen in the complex, but was not caught by police.

Along with the two teens, police found two large trash bags filled with bundles of cash totalling over $24,000 and 98 pieces of jewelry. Officers also found a fanny pack, which contained cash, jewelry and a .45 semiautomatic pistol with a weapon light.

Documents state the weapon appeared to be the same gun used during the robbery, and was reported stolen out of Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office in June 2020.

On April 6, three suspects walked into a jewelry store in West Seattle armed with guns and forced employees to lie down on the ground, according to the Seattle Police Department blotter. The suspects forced employees to retrieve money from the cash registers and a safe. After smashing several jewelry cases, the suspects made off with about $12,000 and jewelry pieces before fleeing the scene. One of the suspects walked with a distinctive limp, SPD reported.