For almost a year, Kent police were unable to identify a suspect in the deaths of two people at a homeless encampment on 88th Avenue South.
Louisa Campos, 32, was killed Aug. 12, 2016. The following day, 49-year-old Robert Dias, another resident of the encampment, was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
Police determined they’d been shot with the same .45-caliber handgun.
On Saturday, the anniversary of Campos’ death, Kent police received a phone call from a man who lives out of state who told investigators Bradley Shaw had phoned him, told him he was the killer and planned to flee to Ireland, according to King County prosecutors.
Shaw, 31, of Covington, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder, with each count also carrying a firearms enhancement, court records show. He remains jailed in lieu of $4 million bail.
At the time of the shootings, Shaw lived in an apartment building one mile south of the homeless encampment, court records show.
“All of the witnesses claim that the shooter was a stranger to the group of transients at the scene the day Campos was murdered, a circumstance that is rare in homicide cases,” a Kent police detective noted in charging documents.
Shaw reached out to the man living out of state and who had served with Shaw in the military because Shaw was to appear in court this week on a drunken-driving charge, say the charges. Shaw was arrested by Kent police in January for DUI and officers at that time confiscated one of his guns, a .45-caliber handgun, the charges say.
Police allege Shaw called his friend because he was worried DNA on shell casings left at the scene or ballistic tests on his handgun would connect him to the double homicide.
According to the friend, Shaw told him he was drunk when he cut in line at a gas station convenience store the day before Campos was killed. Other patrons objected and one of them — Campos, presumably — confronted him about it, the charges say.
When Campos left the gas station, Shaw followed her, then returned to the encampment the next day and shot her, according to the charges.
Shaw returned to the camp a second time “looking for witnesses” to Campos’ killing and came across Dias, who was outside a tent with a baseball bat, and shot him, too, say the charges.
Dias had been asleep in his tent and heard the gunshots that killed Campos, but he didn’t actually see the shooting, charging papers say.
This week, police searched Shaw’s cellphone and found he’d conducted internet searches about the homicides and researched extradition policies of different countries, including Ireland, charging papers say.
In October, Shaw was charged with felony harassment after pressing the muzzle of a gun against a neighbor’s chest, according to those charges.
Earlier this month, Shaw pleaded guilty to a gross-misdemeanor harassment charge in King County District Court’s regional veterans court and received a two-year suspended sentence, court records show.
According to records in the harassment case, Shaw served in the Army for five years, was twice deployed to Iraq and was honorably discharged in 2010.