Is there more to the story of a 33-year-old Federal Way man killed in what initially appeared to be a bizarre road-rage incident Monday night?
Maybe, maybe not. It’s too early to say, police say.
Police say they do not want to discount the possibility that Dennis Sloboda — fatally shot in Federal Way while driving to the hospital to see his wife and newborn son — could have been the victim of an unusual road-rage incident.
At the same time, they “think there is more information out there, and we are just waiting to get it,” police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said.
Police are looking for video surveillance and witnesses who can provide independent evidence of what happened, she said.
So far, police have only the account relayed by Sloboda to one of his six brothers shortly before his death.
According to Anton Sloboda, his brother arrived at the family home in Brown’s Point on Monday night and immediately asked for a gun.
He said he had been involved in what he thought was a minor traffic confrontation until the other driver pulled out a gun. Anton Sloboda said his brother responded by saying, “You want to shoot me? Go ahead!”
The other driver did not shoot, but followed Sloboda.
“We went outside, and he pointed him out, Anton Sloboda said. “I could see him. He was wearing a white shirt and light pants.”
He said he calmed his brother and urged him to stay at the house for a while.
“We didn’t call the police because we thought most people in road rage would be upset for 20 minutes and then cool down,” Anton Sloboda said. “When we went to a high spot and looked again, he was gone away, and it was clear and peaceful, and we stopped worrying.”
Dennis Sloboda left and was later found dead in his car about a five-minute drive from the house.
Anton Sloboda, who emigrated from Belarus with his family in 1998, also said he and his brothers were taught to solve their own problems without calling for help.
“In our culture, we are a little like a tough people, a brave people,” he said. “We hold things together and figure things out on our own. We call the police only if it gets really bad. My brother is a big, tough guy and thought he could handle it.”
He admitted his brother had a criminal past that included driving violations and convictions for drugs and possession of stolen property.
But, he said, his brother had been clean for many years.
He was in the happiest and healthiest stretch of his life, Anton Sloboda said.
“He was doing good and moving forward,” he said. “He was a new man, a new father, and all he was doing was going to church and going to work.”
“We don’t think it was something from the past. He was not looking for trouble,” he said. “We think it was a crazy psycho who got real mad and upset. If not, maybe the police will give us answers.”
The family has set up a Go Fund Me page to offset expenses and assist Sloboda’s wife and children.
Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 firstname.lastname@example.org