Transient charged in shooting death of man at Auburn park

A 31-year-old man who police say shot a fellow transient in a park near the Green River in Auburn this past week has been charged with second-degree murder.

Police and prosecutors allege in court documents filed in King County Superior Court that Travis C. Pendley believed the victim, 26-year-old James R. Smith, stole tools from Pendley’s campsite near Fenster Park.

Police said the victim was working on bikes with a friend near the river when Pendley approached and confronted Smith about the tools.

The victim’s friend told investigators that Smith responded by saying, “These are my tools, boy.”

The friend said Pendley responded by saying, “Boy, huh? I’ll show you” and shot Smith, court documents say.

Pendley allegedly told the witness not to say anything and the witness complied, according to charging documents.

Smith’s body was found this past Tuesday. Pendley was arrested the next day.

Prosecutors say Pendley has previous convictions for burglary, domestic violence and theft and is prohibited from possessing a firearm because of his criminal record.

He is suspected of breaking into the home of an acquaintance July 13 and stealing ammunition and the shotgun used in the shooting, according to prosecutors. He has been charged with theft of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pendley is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and is scheduled for arraignment Aug. 11 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

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