Crime

Kent man charged with friend’s murder three months after getting out of prison

Malik Tupac Lee
Malik Tupac Lee Washington State Department of Corrections

A Kent man was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old friend in Des Moines on Nov. 10 — just three months after the suspect was released from prison.

Malik Tupac Lee, 20, was released from the Clallam Bay Corrections Center on Aug. 3 after serving prison time on a 2015 second-degree assault conviction, according to court records and a state Department of Corrections (DOC) spokeswoman.

Lee, who was wanted on a warrant for escaping DOC community custody, the state’s equivalent of parole, was arrested Nov. 29 after a DOC officer and members of the U.S. Marshals Service followed him as he drove a stolen Honda from Seattle’s Rainier Valley to an Auburn gas station, charging papers say. A 9 mm handgun was found in his pocket, say the charges.

Lee was booked into jail on the warrant and charged with first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, jail and court records show.

The gun found in Lee’s pocket was matched to a shell casing and a bullet recovered from the Des Moines apartment where Elijah Day was shot just after 10 p.m. on Nov. 10, according to the charges filed Tuesday.

Day’s father was driving his son home after taking him grocery shopping when Day received a phone call from his friend “Malik,” say the charges. Day’s father overheard his son tell the caller, “I will be there in two seconds” as Day was dropped off at his apartment in the 2000 block of Kent-Des Moines Road, according to charging papers.

Sixteen minutes later, a resident of Day’s apartment complex called 911 after seeing an injured, bloody man wandering around the parking lot, according to Des Moines police. Day died five days later at Harborview Medical Center.

Police say Lee acknowledged knowing Day but claimed their last contact was in October, say the charges. Police say Lee denied ever being in Day’s apartment, but Day’s father told detectives he’d seen Lee at his son’s apartment on several occasions and on some of those visits, Lee had a gun on him, the charges say.

Lee’s 9 mm handgun was also preliminarily matched to a shooting at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Renton in September, say charging papers. It does not appear anyone was injured in that incident.

In addition to his 2015 assault conviction, Lee has juvenile felony convictions for assault, robbery, attempted robbery, attempting to elude police and taking a motor vehicle without permission, according to charging papers.

Lee’s bail on the murder charge was set at $1.5 million, court and jail records show. Charging papers do not indicate a possible motive for Day’s death.

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