Crime

1 suspect in Puyallup convenience store killing in custody, the other washes up dead

Hundreds gather for vigil for Soon Ja Nam

Hundreds of friends, family, and community members gathered for a candlelight vigil for Soon Ja Nam at Handy Corner Store in Puyallup. Nam was killed during a robbery of the store Saturday night.
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Hundreds of friends, family, and community members gathered for a candlelight vigil for Soon Ja Nam at Handy Corner Store in Puyallup. Nam was killed during a robbery of the store Saturday night.

Investigators have found the two suspected robbers who shot and killed a 79-year-old Puyallup store owner during a holdup at her convenience store.

One 16-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday morning in Northeast Tacoma. The other’s body washed up Monday with a gunshot wound.

The teens are believed to have robbed the Handy Corner Store Saturday and fatally shot owner Soon Ja Nam in the back after she gave them money from the cash register.

Pierce County sheriff’s detectives have not yet determined which boy allegedly killed Nam.

“They’re the two that did it,” sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. “What the roles are and if anybody else knew, those are things still to be determined.”

On Sunday, the getaway car — a Nissan Sentra — was found abandoned on SW 326th Street in Federal Way with the license plate removed.

Detectives immediately began searching for a 16-year-old boy associated with the vehicle, but were unable to find him.

He matched the description given by witnesses of the robbery, Troyer said.

The robbers wore white hospital-style surgical masks, beanies and sweatshirts.

On Monday morning, a body washed up on the shoreline at Chinook Landing Marine along Marine View Drive.

Authorities said it was a young man with a gunshot wound and had been in the water for several hours.

He was later identified as the suspect tied to the getaway car.

Investigators arrested a second 16-year-old suspect about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in a parking lot in Northeast Tacoma.

He was booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery.

The suspect who washed up with a gunshot wound has not been identified.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Troyer said.

Follow more of our reporting on The killing of convenience store owner Soon Ja Nam

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