A social media feud reportedly sparked the Sunday morning confrontation that ended in the death of a 28-year-old Richland man.
Devan L. Thompson told a Kennewick detective that he was sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car when Hakim Omar Ward started punching him through the open window, court documents show.
Thompson, who spoke with Detective Brian Pochert on the phone about 10 hours later, claimed he fired a warning shot into the ground in an attempt to scare off Ward.
Ward was hit in the leg by a bullet but reportedly walked away from the car in the Red Lion Hotel lot. He died a short time later at Trios Southridge Hospital.
Now, police are looking for the 31-year-old Thompson, who told Pochert that he left the Tri-Cities on Sunday and drove to Seattle.
The 31-year-old Everett man refused to tell police his exact location during the call, but said he would drive back to Kennewick on Monday and turn himself in to police, documents said.
A $100,000 nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for him for first-degree unlawful possession of a gun.
Thompson, who also uses the name Devan Walker, went to prison for a home-invasion robbery, and reportedly admitted to Pochert that he is not allowed to own a gun.
Thompson said the .40-caliber handgun was not his and it just happened to be in his fiancée’s car.
While named by police as a suspect in the shooting, he has not been charged with Ward’s death.
Investigators believe Thompson was driving a silver 2016 Nissan Rogue with the Washington license plate BJZ5180.
On Sunday, a 911 call came in at 10:18 a.m. about a shooting in the parking lot of the hotel at 1101 N. Columbia Center Blvd.
Police believe the dispute began near the AT&T store, which shares a lot with the hotel.
At the same time, police heard about a man with a gunshot wound in the parking lot of Payless ShoeSource and Chipotle Mexican Grill, at Columbia Center Boulevard and Okanogan Place.
The lot is across the street from the Red Lion.
Officers found Ward, who had been driven there by a friend after he was wounded. He then was taken by ambulance to the Kennewick hospital.
An autopsy is planned Tuesday morning, said Benton County Coroner John Hansens.
Later Sunday afternoon, a woman who identified herself as Thompson’s fiancée called the Kennewick Police Department and said the couple had been sitting in her car near the hotel when Ward confronted them, court documents show.
She said Ward was arguing with Thompson via social media on Saturday night.
Then on Sunday, Ward punched Thompson in the face several times while Thompson was still sitting in the car, Nikki Osborne told detectives. She then heard a shot, and Thompson immediately drove off.
“Osborne told the detectives in her statement that she had no knowledge of who owned the gun or where Thompson got it from,” Pochert wrote. “She later learned Ward had passed away.”
Police spoke with another witness who was in the parking lot when he saw the fight, documents said. He gave a similar story about a man approaching a car and punching the driver, then hearing a loud bang like a gunshot.
Pochert said in court documents that he spoke with Thompson over the phone at 8 p.m.
Thompson said he believed he dropped the gun and no longer has it, documents said.
He was sentenced in 2009 to 1 1/2 years in prison for the Clallam County robbery.
According to news reports from the time, he was one of four people arrested after a September 2008 home invasion in Port Angeles and a chase that reached speeds up to 120 mph. The chase ended at the Port Townsend waterfront.
Anyone who has information about the Kennewick shooting or Thompson’s location, is asked to call Kennewick police at 509-628-0333 or Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.