Man charged in meth-fueled rampage that included killing of Lakewood barbershop owner

People leave flowers, candles, and notes outside J’s Barber Shop

Customers and residents of Lakewood are visiting J's Barber Shop to pay respects to the owner of the shop who was killed during a crime spree yesterday.
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Customers and residents of Lakewood are visiting J's Barber Shop to pay respects to the owner of the shop who was killed during a crime spree yesterday.

A man accused of killing a Lakewood barbershop owner had been smoking methamphetamine and tried to take vehicles during a Thursday crime binge, charging papers allege.

Prosecutors charged 40-year-old Angel Manuel Martinez with aggravated first-degree murder Friday in connection with the death of 57-year-old Pyong Sun Ryan at her business in the 9100 block of Highland Avenue Southwest.

A conviction on that charge would mean a mandatory sentence of life without parole.

They also charged Martinez with first-degree robbery, motor vehicle theft, two counts of attempted first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree assault for the rest of his alleged crime spree Thursday.

He’s expected to be arraigned Monday afternoon.

Charging papers give this account of what happened:

Police responded about noon Thursday to reports of someone with a knife assaulting people in the area of Veterans Drive and Highland Avenue.

Officers investigated and found Ryan unconscious and suffering from blunt force injuries and stab wounds in a back room of the barbershop that she owned. She died at the scene.

There were signs of a struggle. The shop was covered in blood.

Detectives found a ladder and a pair of scissors that apparently had been used as weapons against Ryan.

Police took Martinez into custody nearby. He’d barricaded himself in a vehicle after fleeing the barbershop and assaulting, robbing or attempting to rob other people.

Video showed Martinez and a woman approach a delivery truck driver in the area. The driver later told police that a man got into his truck and tried to start it while he was making a delivery and that the man and the woman with him fled.

A 76-year-old man had been working in his yard near the barbershop when Martinez demanded his car, saying he needed to take his pregnant girlfriend to the hospital. Then Martinez used an air compressor and a can of WD/40 from the man’s garage to assault him, and the 76-year-old used a golf club to fight him off.

Martinez’s assaults caused a cut to the victim’s head that firefighters said would need stitches.

Another person in the area said she was in her mother-in-law’s garage when Martinez charged her with a handsaw.

She took off, grabbed a handgun and pointed it at him. He left.

Police found Martinez barricaded inside a truck.

The truck’s owner had been working on it when Martinez approached and said he was taking it. Martinez was holding what looked like a large knife, and the truck’s owner fled.

Martinez ultimately surrendered to police.

Before he did, he made statements about wanting officers to kill him.

He had a handsaw that looked like a large knife, Ryan’s cellphone and Korean and U.S. cash with blood on it, court records show. Ryan’s car was also at the scene, with the key inside.

A 38-year-old woman who identified herself as Martinez’s girlfriend told police that they took public transit to Lakewood and went to a park near the barbershop. They talked and used methamphetamine.

He asked if she wanted him to kill someone for her, and she said no.

“She said that she had met the defendant in 2018, that he had been aggressive and violent during the time she knew him and that he was a methamphetamine user,” the declaration for determination of probable cause says.

The woman went to a laundromat by the barbershop to use the bathroom and came out to see the defendant covered in blood.

He told her to put her bags in a vehicle in the parking lot.

The woman ran away.

Police found a juvenile comforting her. The girl told police the woman told her Martinez said he was going to the barbershop because they needed a car to return to Tacoma.

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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.