Memorial grows for woman shot, killed by husband during shift; domestic violence concerns grow

BELLEVUE, Wash. — As a memorial continues to grow for a woman who was gunned down at work by her estranged husband, KIRO-7 looks at an increase in domestic violence-related crime.

Friends, loved ones, and strangers added bouquets of flowers to a memorial in-front of Sam’s Tavern in Bellevue throughout the day Tuesday.

The make-shift memorial honors the life of a 26-year-old woman, daughter, friend, and bartender at Sam’s Tavern, identified by friends and loved ones as ‘Maxx.’

According to Bellevue Police, Maxx was shot and killed by her estranged husband, Dylan Jennings, during her bartending shift Monday night.

“We just want them to feel love from the neighborhood,” said Nagin Khonloo, a Bellevue resident who left flowers at the memorial in a show of support for the victim’s family and loved ones.

“I just really pray for them, for God to heal their heart, because I don’t know [how] this pain can go away, it’s just so hard,” she continued.

Maxx’s family stood outside of the bar grieving for hours.

The family, trying to understand what had happened, was allowed to go in the now closed restaurant — inside, remnants of a crime scene still peppered the floor around un-bussed tables.

The case, which is now being investigated as a domestic violence homicide, is part of a larger trend.

As of May 2021, Bellevue Police said aggravated assaults have remained in the normal range.

*not seeing increase in reported cases — however, seeing increase in the severity of cases.

According to a report from the Seattle Times, domestic-violence homicides represent 20% of the estimated 50 homicides committed in King County so far this year.

Based on data from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, DV homicides have nearly doubled in comparison to past years.

And while the number of reported DV cases in Bellevue have remained in the standard range year over year, Bellevue police report that the severity of the crimes has gotten worse, citing a 30-percent increase in aggravated assaults last year alone.

Maxx’s death contributes to the number of DV-related aggravated assaults for 2021, which Bellevue Police said are currently in the standard range.

Still, for the Sam’s Tavern family, the tragedy is much more than a statistic.

In a Facebook post, the chain expressed condolences and announced a temporary closure of all four King County locations, to give its team time to mourn the loss.

The post said in part:

“An incident like this is traumatizing on so many levels. For her family, we cannot express how sorry we are for your loss. To our team, I want you to know how personally I am taking this incident and how much I care about all of you, in all of the Sam’s Taverns, from back of house to front. This is why we have decided to temporally close all Sam’s Taverns so we can mourn, heal, and honor the life of our team member together.”

Meanwhile, the investigation continues at their Bellevue location.

A restoration company hung paper over the windows ahead of their clean-up and mitigation efforts Wednesday.

At last sight, more than two dozen bouquets of flowers had been left outside of the restaurant. Including a picture of Maxx with a handwritten love note from her parents in mourning.

“We love you. We miss you. – Mom & Dad”

A public memorial for Maxx is scheduled to take place Saturday, July 17 at Golden Gardens Park from 1 to 9 p.m., more information can be found here.