Crime

Prosecutors: Man accidentally shot cousin while beating attempted robbery victim with gun

A 20-year-old man alleged to have accidentally shot his cousin to death in Tacoma while beating another man with a pistol was charged Thursday with first-degree manslaughter.

Not guilty pleas were entered in Pierce County Superior Court on behalf of Denzel Thompson, who’s also charged with attempted robbery. Judge Stephanie Arend ordered Thompson jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail.

He was arrested Friday after police were dispatched to a restaurant in the 2400 block of Pacific Avenue to investigate a shooting.

Officers found Thompson there with a 16-year-old boy. Both were upset and directed police to a nearby car, where officers found Douglas Medlock II bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound to the leg, court records show.

Police called for medical aid, but Medlock, 20, died. An autopsy showed he bled to death from a wound to an artery in his leg.

Thompson told police he and Medlock, who he identified as his cousin, were talking with some women about 9:15 p.m. near South 23rd Street and South Yakima Avenue when an unknown assailant shot Medlock and ran away.

Investigators later talked to witnesses, including the 16-year-old boy, who said Thompson, Medlock and two other men planned to rob a resident of that area of marijuana.

During the attempted robbery, Thompson allegedly starting beating the marijuana dealer with the butt of a pistol, court records show.

“On the final blow, the gun discharged, shooting Medlock in the leg,” according to a declaration for probable cause filed by deputy prosecutor Stephen Penner.

Thompson and the boy, who has not been charged, then drove to the restaurant with Medlock looking for help, court records show.

Penner said outside court on Thursday that Thompson and the teenager live in South King County and are not familiar with Tacoma, so they drove into the downtown area looking for help even though the shooting took place not far from St. Joseph Medical Center.

Police still are searching for the two other men who allegedly were part of the plan to rob the marijuana dealer, Penner added.

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