FEDERAL WAY, Wash. - Candles are burning at the site of the mass slaying at a Federal Way apartment complex that took the lives of four victims and the gunman.
Police said the shooting spree began when the suspect, who sources said is 28-year-old Dennis Clark, shot his girlfriend to death in their apartment, killed two men just outside, and then blasted his way into the apartment of a man who was trying to call 911, executing him.
Responding officers killed Clark in the nearby parking lot.
Records show Clark has had brushes with the law before.
Police said Clark was contacted, but not arrested on separate occasions by both the Federal Way Police Department and the Seattle Police Department on domestic violence investigations.
Authorities said the altercations involved were verbal, not physical.
Overnight, the uncle of the woman who died, Justine Baez, told me their family had seen Clark act violently in the past and thinks the slayings could have been prevented.
Joe Hodges spoke with KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Rick Price by phone from California.
“I’d hate to have another family have to go through something like this. You know it might not have been 100 percent preventable, but at least, he should not have had those firearms. It might’ve saved my niece’s life,” said Hodges. “This is one that fell through the cracks for whatever reason, I don’t know why, but they need to be aware of it and make sure the situation doesn’t happen again.”
Hodges gave Price a glimpse of what the last 36 hours have been like for the victims’ families.
“It’s bad. It’s caused a lot of pain for a lot of people,” said Hodges.