Crime

Convicted felon wanted for killing West Richland man suspected of stalking his girlfriend

Richland police investigate a deadly shooting

Richland police investigate a deadly shooting Friday night at Columbia Park Apartments off of Jadwin Avenue.
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Richland police investigate a deadly shooting Friday night at Columbia Park Apartments off of Jadwin Avenue.

Related story: Spokane woman accused of helping Richland murder suspect flee after shooting

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A 30-year-old West Richland man was shot in the back of the head as he tried to run away from his killer Friday night.

Daniel S. Rice was confronted as he stood in the parking lot of a Richland apartment complex, possibly stalking a woman who was staying there.

When the woman told her boyfriend that Rice was outside, Kyle A. Johnson-Clark grabbed his 9mm handgun and ran downstairs, according to investigators.

A short time later he allegedly fired at least six shots at Rice.

On Wednesday police released a photo of Johnson-Clark, 27, and asked for the public’s help in finding him.

Kyle Johnson Clark.jpg
Kyle A. Johnson-Clark

A judge has issued a $1 million nationwide warrant for his arrest for the May 3 premeditated first-degree murder.

Gun found in river

Richland detectives reportedly found the gun tossed in the Columbia River near the Snyder Boat Launch in Leslie Groves Park. The slide was forward indicating the magazine was still partially loaded, court documents said.

A second, full magazine was found in nearby brush where Johnson-Clark had been seen walking after the shooting, said police.

Daniel Rice
Family members remember Daniel Rice, 30, as having a huge heart of gold. He had two younger siblings. Courtesy Juanita Austin

Investigators later discovered the magazine in the gun was missing several rounds, but the remaining 9mm ammunition matched the empty casings at the scene, documents said.

Rice died at Kadlec Regional Medical Center just before 2 a.m. Saturday with his mother by his side. Family said he was shot four times.

An autopsy performed Wednesday confirmed that he died from a gunshot wound to the head, said Benton County Coroner Bill Leach.

A GoFundMe account has been organized by Rice’s aunt to help pay for funeral expenses.

‘Extensive weapons convictions’

Investigators noted in court documents that Johnson-Clark “has extensive weapons convictions from other jurisdictions.”

An online search shows Johnson-Clark has a criminal history in Missouri. He used to live in the St. Louis area.

In 2013, he was accused of biting and punching his girlfriend while in a store, according to a Patch news story.

The woman, when told by police that Johnson-Clark was being arrested, responded: “You guys want him to kill me? I told you I didn’t want to prosecute.”

Suspect lived in complex

Richland police were called to the Columbia Park Apartments at 8:36 p.m. Friday for reports of a shooting.

As officers were responding, dispatchers got word from a caller that a man was on the ground in the parking lot at 1622 Jadwin Ave.

Witnesses reported seeing the possible shooter leave in a dark Honda sedan or similar car. He was described as wearing a black, hooded sweatshirt and jeans.

RichlandShooting02.jpg
Richland police investigate a shooting at Columbia Park apartments Friday night. Daniel S. Rice died hours later. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-City Herald

Detectives say Johnson-Clark, who was living at the complex, called someone immediately after the shooting and had them pick him up at the Chief Joseph Middle School.

They made a stop at Leslie Groves Park, then he eventually was dropped at the Walmart in Kennewick, according to court documents.

Further investigation revealed that his girlfriend “had a relationship with the victim” and the two would use methamphetamine together, while she was dating Johnson-Clark, documents said.

Gave alibis to girlfriend

A witness last Friday reported hearing two gunshots and looking out a window to see Rice “trying to walk fast to an apartment building, away from Kyle, on the other corner.”

Johnson-Clark allegedly told his girlfriend, if questioned by police, to say he had been in Spokane during the shooting.

Then, after hearing someone had already placed him at the scene, he told his girlfriend to say Rice had a gun and shot at Johnson-Clark first, court documents said.

Investigators noted that no weapon was found on Rice.

Johnson-Clark also told his girlfriend to get rid of his cellphone so his movements that night could not be traced, documents said.

Anyone with information on the shooting or Johnson-Clark’s whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Drew Florence at 509-942-7340 or dflorence@ci.richland.wa.us.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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