Citizen rams car into robbery getaway vehicle; tries to stop suspects

Court documents have revealed new details about the string of robberies in South King County. More than 30 businesses have been hit within two weeks.

It turns out a crash that happened in Covington following a robbery was because a good Samaritan tried to stop the suspects from getting away by ramming his own vehicle into the getaway car — but that was when the suspects turned a gun on him.

“It was just nuts,” said Matt, a Covington resident who didn’t want to share his last name for safety.

There are now bullet holes in his car after he was shot at by suspects. All of this happened while he and his 70-year-old mom were running errands last week.

According to court documents, the robbery spree on Nov. 17 started at a 76 gas station in Renton at 8:27 p.m. Investigators said the same suspects then hit a Chevron in Kent, at 10:06 p.m. Matt said he saw police rushing to that second scene.

“Six to eight patrol cars, we saw them in our rear view and they were going faster than I think I’ve ever seen patrol cars go,” Matt said.

Then just eight minutes later, documents said the suspects robbed the Covington 76 gas station down the road, at 10:14 p.m.

Matt said he also saw the aftermath of the robbery on 164th Ave SE, including a suspect who apparently dropped a pile of cash.

“That’s a pile of money and he’s sitting there trying to scoop it off the ground,” Matt said. He witnessed the still-masked suspects trying to leave in a getaway car and acted on instinct.

“I actually struck their vehicle, which was not the right thing to do,” Matt said. This happened in the driveway of Cube Storage, which is across the street from the 76 gas station.

He said that was when the driver in the suspect’s car opened fire.

“The driver produced a Glock 9 mm and fired through his windshield at us,” Matt said. The bullets hit the hood and the frame of his car but none penetrated the vehicle.

“A lot of screaming going on,” Matt said. He said the suspects immediately took off running after shooting at him.

“They’re all three fleeing up 164th, into the woods and into the darkness,” Matt said. Detectives arrested one 15-year-old male suspect. The King County Sheriff’s Office also arrested three other teens several hours later, but had to let them go because of a lack of evidence.

Matt said he would not make the same choice intervening again.

“I made a really poor decision that affected someone I care about the most in a way I can never fix,” he said. “The right thing was to stop, record what they were doing, and be a good witness,” he said.

Still, Matt said he wanted to speak out in case anyone has information that can lead to further arrests.

“If we don’t stand up and do our part, none of this changes. None of this gets better,” Matt said. Insurance isn’t going to cover the damage to his car, which is another challenge.

Investigators said the suspect’s vehicle was a rental car stolen from Enterprise. “The Hyundai Elantra’s steering wheel column was completely removed and destroyed … recognized this as being a common method that is used to steal newer model Hyundai’s and Kia’s,” the court documents said.

There was another robbery over the weekend in Tukwila. The deputy chief of the Tukwila Police Department said that major crimes detectives are investigating to see if it’s related to the 30+ other cases this month.