An argument outside a Fife restaurant turned into a drive-by shooting, charges say

A man who allegedly shot vehicles outside a fast-foot restaurant during a methamphetamine-fueled domestic dispute in Fife has been charged.

The 30-year-old pleaded not guilty Monday to trying to elude police, vehicle theft, unlawful gun possession and two counts of drive-by shooting.

According to charging papers:

Police responded March 14 to a report of a drive-by shooting at a fast-food restaurant near Pacific Highway East and 51st Avenue East.

A man fired from a black sedan driven by a woman.

Investigators found shell casings in the parking lot and a truck with a bullet hole.

The driver of that vehicle said the man and woman had been arguing in the sedan when the man in the sedan pulled a gun, opened the passenger door and started shooting.

The driver of the truck didn’t know if the man “was shooting at him, or just shooting wildly,” deputy prosecutor Lisa Wagner wrote in the declaration for determination of probable cause.

Investigators found another vehicle also hit by gunfire nearby.

They identified the couple in the sedan and spoke with the woman.

She said she had a “soft spot” for the suspect, who she had dated, and that he’d sent her a message asking for $20 the day of the shooting.

The woman helps him, she said, despite the no-contact order between them. He’d used methamphetamine in the past, and despite her efforts to help him, had started to again.

She arrived at the inn where the man was staying by the fast-food restaurant to find him angry and high on methamphetamine.

He got into her car, yelled things she didn’t understand and punched the door.

She yelled at him, telling him not to do that, and punched him as they started to leave.

That’s when he pulled out a gun, racked the slide, opened the car door and shot into the air.

That scared the woman. When the man shut the door and told her to drive, she did.

At some point they pulled over, and the man took over driving. The woman got into the passenger seat, she said, because she was worried he’d steal the car, which she’d rented because he’d stolen and crashed her car previously.

He drove them to Federal Way, and they parted ways. She then switched her rental car, because she didn’t want him to know what she was driving.

She called police March 27 to say that the man had walked up to her outside a casino and taken the keys to the new rental, then driven away.

That same day a Fife police officer saw him driving it, and a high-speed chase ensued.

He got away and later gave the woman back her keys.

He was arrested Friday on warrants unrelated to the shooting case and booked into Pierce County Jail.

Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.