Murder of 3-year-old boy connected to Burien police shootout

A shootout with Normandy Park police Monday near an Arby's in Burien is connected to the heartbreaking murder of a 3-year old boy in Normandy Park on Saturday.

The man involved in the shooting with police is Jeffery D. Hamlet, 30, the father of the 3-year-old.

The murder suspect is William Henry Johnson III, 28, the boyfriend of the 3-year-old’s mother.

Jamari Lim-Hamlet had just celebrated his third birthday.

“Playful, very easygoing, such an easy kid,” said Tara Edwards, a neighbor.

The boy’s mom, Jackie, showed KIRO 7 photos of her son. They showed a boy full of smiles who loved SpiderMan.

Normandy Park police say he was murdered Saturday evening and believe his mother's boyfriend beat him to death.

“Very disgusting,” said Fred Aigbe, also a neighbor.

“It’s just horrible. He's just such easy kid. And to know he was going through that, with no one really there to be able to help him, it's giving me chills right now,” Edwards said.

The family's neighbors are so shaken up, they didn't want to show their faces on camera.

“Our kids play together,” Edwards said. “And literally two hours after he left, this is what went on."

Johnson waived his appearance in court Tuesday, but a judge announced charges that will likely come Wednesday.

“This court finds probable cause of murder two,” the judge said.

First responders first came to the home in Normandy Park on a CPR in progress call. When they arrived, they found bruising and other signs of trauma on Jamari’s body and notified police.

“We don't believe there's anyone outstanding as far as the responsibility for what we believe is a crime that took place,” said Chief Dan Yourkoski, with the Normandy Park Police Department.

Jamari's mother told police she left her son with Johnson and found Jamari unconscious when she returned. Johnson would only tell her that he gave the boy a bath, according to a probable cause document.

A neighbor above the unit told police there was screaming and thumping noises -- possibly something being thrown -- about 20 minutes before firefighters arrived. Jamari's sisters, all elementary school age, told a child interview specialist that they heard screaming when Johnson was giving Jamari a bath.

Johnson denied that Jamari screamed or cried loudly, according to the probable cause document. During an examination, the King County Medical Examiner's staff noticed bruising on Jamari's stomach and right calf and back of his body.

Police say when Hamlet, the boy’s father, found out Jamari was dead, he sent threatening text messages to the boy's mom.

The messages were so threatening, police were concerned he would drive by and shoot up the house where Jamari died, which was still a crime scene at the time.

It led police to shut down First Avenue South for hours between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday.

On Monday afternoon, Normandy Park police were investigating the felony harassment case and tried to arrest Hamlet about a quarter-mile away from the home, at First Avenue South and 160th in Burien.

The King County Sheriff’s Office said Hamlet ran and got stuck near a fence.

Court documents say Hamlet fired a dozen rounds at Normandy Park police, and officers fired 28 shots back.

One of the bullets grazed Hamlet’s head and another hit his ear.

Hamlet then ran across First Avenue South again to the Arby’s, where he pointed his gun at two people in a car in the drive-thru lane and carjacked their vehicle, screaming at them to “get the f--- out.” The couple fled the vehicle, and said they were in fear for their lives, according to the documents.

He tried to flee, the Sheriff's Office says, then hit a median and got stuck. Then police arrested Hamlet.
Now two men are behind bars - one for a child's murder, the other for what police say he did after he found out.

“Sometimes you’ve got to think before you do. No matter how much heartbreak it is, you’ve still got to control yourself and figure it's about your other kids, too,” Aigbe said.

Prosecutors have charged Hamlet with assault, robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm. A judge set his bail at $500,000.

Prosecutors have also charged the mother's boyfriend, Johnson, with second-degree murder and assault. His bail is set at $2 million.

Friends of the family of the toddler have started a GoFundMe to create a memorial for the boy.

There will also be a fundraiser and memorial picnic Sunday, Aug. 4, at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle from 3-7 p.m.