Corey Chapman was in a deep sleep when he heard a loud pounding on his Pasco front door.
He grabbed his loaded .40-caliber pistol and his cellphone from the bedside, and immediately called the police.
That chilling 911 call shows in the next 2 1/2 minutes Chapman’s anxiety turns to relief as officers pull up outside. Then, it all changes in an instant.
“He got in the house, I don’t know how. Yeah, I just shot him. I shot him!” Chapman can be heard shouting on the 911 recording.
He’d come face-to-face with the intruder and fired one shot, killing Travis Yeates.
The highly intoxicated Hanford worker had pushed his way through an unlocked garage door into the wrong house.
“I don’t know who it is, OK. …,” Chapman told the officers just outside. “Oh geez. I don’t know, how did he get in my house?”
Franklin County Prosecutor Shawn Sant has yet to decide if the fatal shooting on June 10 was justified.
He told the Tri-City Herald a decision is coming soon. His office has been reviewing the case since early August when the autopsy report, lab test results and investigation reports were all handed over.
Chapman and Yeates did not know each other, and 81 pages of Pasco Police Department reports recently released to the Herald show investigators have been unable to figure out why Yeates was in that neighborhood — a half mile from a friend’s home and 1 1/2 hours after he left a bar.
He got in the house, I don’t know how. Yeah, I just shot him. I shot him
Corey Chapman 911 call
The 34-year-old Kennewick man worked as a safety and health specialist at the Hanford tank farm contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions. He had been there since October 2010.
After getting off work that Thursday, Yeates and some friends from a young professionals group went to the Live @ 5 concert in Richland’s John Dam Plaza, crossed the street to the Gaslight Bar & Grill for a co-worker’s going-away party and then returned to the park.
Several of them moved on to Brews Taphouse on Road 68 in Pasco. And later, Yeates’ girlfriend, Haley Taylor, was driving their friend Robert Plemmons to his nearby home on Saint Paul Court when he and Yeates decided to stop at The Dugout Bar & Grill on Burden Boulevard.
Taylor told detectives she dropped off Yeates and Plemmons and told them to call her for a ride home. She then drove to the Kennewick apartment she shared with Yeates.
Security video from inside The Dugout shows Yeates and Plemmons entered at 11:13 p.m. and left at 12:38 a.m. Yeates reportedly was cut off from being served drinks at 11:48 p.m.
His blood-alcohol level when he died was 0.32 percent, four times the legal limit.
Plemmons admitted to detectives they had a lot to drink that night. He drank about a dozen beers, a double vodka drink and a few shots of liquor, and admitted that things started to get a little hazy toward the end.
Friends told police that Yeates generally grew louder when he’d been drinking but he was fun. He didn’t get angry and was not the type to start problems with anyone, according to the investigative reports.
“The drunker he got, the happier he got,” Plemmons told police.
Plemmons told detectives when he left The Dugout, he wasn’t sure if Yeates was walking to his house or calling Taylor for a ride.
Officer Carlos Santiago recalled seeing two men walking on Burden Boulevard while he was on patrol. His car video captured Yeates and Plemmons walking separately at 12:42 a.m.
But Plemmons said he did not wait for his friend to catch up to him because Yeates knew the garage keypad code to get into his house on Saint Paul Court.
While Chapman lives on a corner lot and Plemmons’ home is in a cul-de-sac, the two houses are close in appearance with a large window overlooking a front porch, a small rectangular window next to the front door, and the garage on the right.
Both homes also have a similar-looking two-story house to the right.
Chapman, 43, called 911 at 2:22 a.m.
I need a cop, ASAP. I have an intruder at my front door, pounding on it trying to knock it in. OK?
Corey Chapman 911 call
“I need a cop, ASAP,” he tells the dispatcher. “I have an intruder at my front door, pounding on it trying to knock it in. OK?”
Chapman said he had no idea who it was.
When the dispatcher asked if the person had said anything, Chapman replies: “Ma’am, he has said nothing. I am sitting here right now with my fricking .40 loaded. OK? I am telling you straight up, get here now.”
She tells him officers are heading that way and not to open the door.
“If he comes through the door, I’m going to shoot him. I’m just telling you that,” Chapman says.
Seconds later, Chapman says, “OK, your unit is here.”
The dispatcher tells Chapman to put his gun away.
Chapman takes a few deep breaths and tells the dispatcher, “Thank you for getting here so quickly.”
“You’re welcome. Have a good night,” she responds.
Chapman later told police he was walking toward his bedroom to drop off the gun and grab a shirt when a “shadow” of an intruder was in his dark hallway.
With the cellphone still in his left hand, Chapman shoots Yeates once with the pistol in his right hand. The shot at 2:24 a.m. is barely audible on the recording.
The dispatcher, who heard Chapman’s exclamation, tells officers: “He just shot him. He got in the house and the guy just shot him. He just shot somebody.”
Ma’am, he has said nothing. I am sitting here right now with my fricking .40 loaded. OK? I am telling you straight up, get here now.
Corey Chapman 911 call
Officer Marcos Guzman and Student Officer Kevin Frantz were nearby when Chapman called 911.
Guzman wrote in his report that they arrived in the area about a minute later, however Frantz went west on Austin instead of east. They turned around and stopped in front of Chapman’s home, but no one was outside.
Guzman saw Chapman holding a pistol through the window next to the front door and noticed the garage door was open halfway. He aimed his flashlight into the garage and didn’t see anyone, then heard a muffled gunshot from inside the house.
Guzman ran around the house just in case the suspect fled out the back. The front door was open when he returned.
Chapman was in the living room with his Glock 22 disassembled on a couch and a coffee table, and Frantz was near the kitchen standing above the wounded Yeates.
Frantz said Yeates initially was breathing, but he couldn’t respond to the officers. He was pronounced dead by paramedics, who retrieved his wallet for identification purposes and a folding knife from his pocket.
I don’t care if it’s justified, I feel horrible.
The first several officers to arrive said Chapman was extremely excited, visibly distraught and in a state of shock. He asked about the race and age of the victim, worrying if it was his nephew.
Chapman told Officer Santiago that he ordered the intruder to stop but he kept lunging at Chapman. He said he felt threatened and fired to protect himself.
“I don’t care if it’s justified, I feel horrible,” Chapman added, saying his Vietnam veteran father had told him he never wanted his son to know what it’s like to shoot someone. “I don’t understand what happened. This is not supposed to happen.”
Chapman, who police reports say is in the insurance business, is divorced but has twin teenage boys who sometimes stay at the house. That night he was home alone.
Detective Brad Leininger said Chapman was not doing well mentally and “went through a plethora of emotions from fear to guilt to sadness.”
He also expressed remorse presuming Yeates had a family and loved ones who would never see him again.
“Chapman began to break down, saying that he had just taken a life,” the report said. “That thought led into Chapman asking me rhetorically what would have happened if he didn’t wake up, what the man would have done to him.”