by: Natasha Chen Updated:
ORTING, Wash. - A 53-year-old man was found dead on his front lawn shortly after 3 a.m. in Orting. Orting police said Michael Compton was attempting to stop a burglary and he was likely killed by his own gun. Police found a shotgun on the scene. They do not believe the suspect or suspects are armed.
Orting police released surveillance video Wednesday night of two people riding bicycles near the crime scene around the time Michael Compton was shot. Investigators think the cyclists could have witnessed something that would help police solve the homicide. No arrests had been made Wednesday night.
Investigators are now interviewing multiple persons of interest. They are trying to determine if the shooting happened intentionally or accidentally during the struggle. Neighbor Laurence McLaughlin said,
“He heard somebody in the garage, going through his car. And he went and grabbed his shotgun, followed him out to the front yard and they got him before he got them.”
Compton’s mother-in-law, Sharon Glaser, told KIRO 7, “He had caught somebody trying to steal gas across the street about 1 o’clock.” She said she believes they came to Compton’s house later and went through his car. Glaser said, “They’ll catch him. And I hope they get the electric chair.”
Neighbors said Compton’s wife was home when this happened. They said she found him on the front lawn. People in the tight-knit town of fewer than 7,000 people said the murder was a shock.
“It’s messed up. Like I said, it’s a really quiet place and never had that happen around here. Never heard of it. I mean, everybody knows everybody,” said Mark Hoffer, Compton’s neighbor.
A family friend told KIRO 7 Compton was a loving and gentle person, who was fiercely protective of his family and property. The Orting Red Hat Days group, which organizes events each year to celebrate the beginning of hunting season, said Compton will be dearly missed.
“To lose him is devastating. He volunteered a lot,” said Evelyn West, who watched Compton grow up. “I know he was just a real great guy and he wouldn’t hurt anybody. And if you asked him to help you, he’d be right there.”
Friends with Orting Red Hat Days said Compton was an avid hunter, and worked at Key Bank in fraud and loss prevention.