Lucas Gritzke went to a Puyallup motel to confront a fellow heroin dealer who he believed impersonated him while he was in jail to steal away his clients.
He was shot dead in room 222.
On Monday, Pierce County prosecutors charged Troy Bottemiller, 25, with second-degree murder for Saturday’s fatal shooting. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, and Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $1 million.
Police were called just before 5 a.m. to the 1400 block of South Meridian and saw several people running out of a motel room.
Gritzke, 25, of Federal Way, was lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the chest. Officers performed CPR but Gritzke was pronounced dead at the scene.
Witnesses told police the suspected shooter, Bottemiller, fled in a car. He was arrested later after he returned to the motel.
A .45-caliber handgun was found in some rocks below a stairwell.
Charging papers give this account:
Bottemiller, Gritzke and the others inside the motel room last weekend were regular heroin users.
“Gritzke came to the hotel and accused the defendant of using his name and pretending to be him while Gritzke was in jail,” records show. “Gritzke asserted the defendant had done so to call Gritzke’s clients and sell them drugs.”
Gritzke was angry and demanded money and other items of value from Bottemiller to make up for impersonating him and stealing his customers.
Bottemiller gave Gritzke a cell phone and told him he could have other items in Bottemiller’s car.
Gritzke walked to the door. Bottemiller pulled out a handgun, took off the safety and pointed it at Gritzke. When Gritzke expressed disbelief and took a step toward Bottemiller, he fired a single shot.
“The defendant told detectives that he felt threatened by Gritzke’s actions and demeanor and felt he had no other alternative than to shoot him,” records show.
Bottemiller claimed self-defense but the other people in the room disagreed.
“Witnesses told the detectives and officers that they did not perceive a deadly threat and that the defendant unnecessarily shot Gritzke,” records show.
Detectives learned the two men got into a fist-fight nearly four years ago and Gritzke broke Bottemiller’s nose, which could have contributed to Bottemiller being afraid.
Gritzke was released from jail earlier this year after serving time on drug charges, according to records.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653