Suspect admits Kent gas station shooting; cites 'disrespect'

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

SEATTLE, Wash. - The man accused of gunning down two workers at a Kent gas station admits he did it, and says the fight was over "disrespect."

Police said Leland D. Russell, 29, was the only shooter at the Shell gas station Wednesday morning where manager David Christianson and clerk Carlos Gonzalez were killed.

“I’m really going to miss him a lot, and I love him dearly, and this isn’t fair,” said Gonzalez’s cousin who showed up to the Kent station Thursday night. 

Christianson also had family at the station during the day, but they were too emotional to speak.

A judge ordered Russell held on $2 million bail.

"Clearly the defendant has an extreme, callous disregard for human life," said King County Deputy Prosecutor TinaMarie Masters.

According to new probable cause documents, surveillance video showed a brief fight between the victims and a man who was in a Cadillac with Russell.

Police say the video shows Russell getting a gun from the car and shooting Christianson and Gonzalez at close range.

Court papers describe Russell as Hispanic and his companion as black.

Russell later told detectives the dispute began when construction workers at the gas station began using racial slurs against Russell and his friend, whom he called "Sac."

After the two employees got involved, the court papers say Russell shot them.

Russell told detectives the fight was over "disrespect," and if he didn't shoot the victims Sac's family would have killed him for not standing up for him.

Police are still looking for that second suspect.

Leland Russell's parents have run a barber shop in Renton for decades.

Russell's father told KIRO 7, "I don't have a clue what happened."

"I haven't talked with him in a while," he said.

Russell’s wife said “go away” when KIRO 7 knocked at her door.  A neighbor said she’s noticed suspicious activity and cars coming and going from the Russell household. 

She said they moved in somewhat recently.