Shooting death suspect Devan Thompson in Benton Superior Court
The suspect in Sunday’s deadly shooting near a Kennewick hotel was released from jail five hours after his bail was reduced because he had turned himself in to police as promised.
Devan L. Thompson, 31, posted bond on $25,000 and walked out of the Benton County jail at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Everett man had been arrested Tuesday on a $100,000 warrant for illegally having a gun.
“This case involves (first-degree) unlawful possession of a firearm because he has a felony history,” Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller said in court earlier Wednesday. “It also came to the attention of us because a person died as a result of the defendant’s alleged use of a firearm.”
The investigation into the circumstances of Hakim O. Ward’s death are continuing, said Miller, “so this is more than just a normal unlawful possession case.”
He also emphasized that Thompson was not apprehended by police, but drove back to the Tri-Cities to surrender as he said he would.
“During the last couple days, the defendant contacted Ms. (Norma) Rodriguez. Ms. Rodriguez arranged for him to turn himself in,” Miller added. “So we certainly are in a different situation than we were when we asked for $100,000 bail.”
The prosecutor said some bail is appropriate given the seriousness of the crime, the fact Thompson is facing a prison sentence with a gun conviction and since he’s being investigated in connection to the homicide.
Rodriguez, a Kennewick attorney, asked Superior Court Judge Bruce Spanner to impose $25,000, saying the amount had been agreed to previously with the prosecutor.
Kennewick police say Thompson shot Ward during a confrontation in the parking lot between the Red Lion Hotel Kennewick and AT&T store on Columbia Center Boulevard near the mall.
Thompson later told a detective in a phone interview that he had been sitting in the driver’s seat of his fiancée’s car when Ward punched him in the face through the open window.
He claims he grabbed a gun in the car and fired a warning shot into the ground. It has not been disclosed if the bullet ricocheted or went directly into his leg.
Ward, 28, walked away from the car after being shot and was driven across the street by a friend. But he lost too much blood and died later at Trios Southridge Hospital.
In the meantime, Thompson and his fiancée, Nikki Osborne, drove back to the Seattle area on Sunday.
Osborne called Kennewick police after learning that Ward had died. She said an argument between the two men via social media on Saturday night had escalated to the confrontation the next morning.
Thompson, who tried to hide his face in court Wednesday, pleaded innocent to the gun possession charge. His trial is scheduled for Dec. 3.
Thompson’s criminal history includes a 2008 robbery conviction for a home invasion in Port Angeles.
Since Thompson lives on the west side of the state, Judge Spanner said he is allowed to travel throughout Washington but cannot leave the state.