A Tacoma man fatally shot during a confrontation March 13 appears to have been armed with a knife, so Pierce County prosecutors have declined to file homicide charges against the shooter.
They did charge a second man accused of shooting the victim’s girlfriend in both legs multiple times with first-degree assault and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Rene Valderas, 27, pleaded not guilty Monday in the incident at McKinley Crossing apartments. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set Valderas’ bail at $500,000.
His 21-year-old brother, Anthony Valencia Jr., will not be charged with the homicide, but does face a count of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Valencia pleaded not guilty to the charge. Foley set Valencia’s bail at $100,000.
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Police are still sorting out the details of the shootout that killed Maluelue Fitiao, 39, and wounded his 29-year-old girlfriend.
Charging papers give this account:
Fitiao and his girlfriend lived with a male roommate in the 7400 block of East McKinley Avenue.
That night, the roommate had about nine friends over, and Fitiao complained several times about the noise the group was making.
“At some point, Fitiao yelled at everyone else to get out of the apartment, and he took a folding knife from his pocket and opened the blade.”
Valderas pulled a .40-caliber pistol from his waistband. His brother was in the kitchen, “heard the commotion, came into the room and saw what was going on, and he drew a 9mm pistol.”
Witnesses said things were calming down until Fitiao’s girlfriend grabbed another woman around the neck.
Valencia admitted shooting Fitiao because he was swinging a knife at Valderas, who had to duck to avoid being cut. The two brothers shot at Fitiao a combined 11 times, police said.
When police arrived, they found Fitiao dead with a knife in his hand and his girlfriend suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
There were several bullet holes in the wall, and one bullet went through a wall about 3 inches above where a 10-year-old boy was sleeping at the time.
Thirteen shell casings from a .40-caliber pistol and a 9mm pistol were collected inside the apartment.
Neither gun has been recovered.
Valencia said his pistol was tossed in the Puyallup River, and Valderas told detectives he tossed his into bushes in Lakewood and police would “never find it,” according to court documents.
Both brothers are felons and prohibited from having weapons.
Valencia has three convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm and rendering criminal assistance. Valderas has convictions for third-degree assault and theft of a vehicle.
Prosecutors said they might file additional charges, depending on what the investigation reveals.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653