Pierce County man accused in ‘execution-style’ murder of stranger

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — A 22-year-old man faces a judge for the first time, charged in the “execution style” murder of a man he did not know.

Even now, investigators are not sure why the man opened fire.

The 38-year-old victim was gunned down in the Lakewood Towne Center parking lot Thursday.

This happened outside a Target in the parking lot.

According to court documents, the suspect fired multiple rounds at the victim, some even after he was on the ground.

A fatal encounter between two men who were strangers.

“Oh, my goodness, well, that’s terrifying,” exclaimed Murphy Dortch of Lakewood. “I didn’t know that at all, or I probably wouldn’t have come to this Target.”

It was news at the Lakewood Towne Center on Friday afternoon that a fatal shooting happened there little more than 24 hours ago.

“We’re just doing some work,” Dortch said.” So, I was like, wow. That’s kind of terrifying though.”

Lakewood police say they found the 22-year-old suspect Thursday afternoon standing about 15 feet from the victim, his gun on the ground in the Target parking lot.

According to court documents, Sarome Jaquan Marquise Stabler told officers a 38-year-old man “walked up on him” and he got “scared.”  So, he fired at him.

Stabler’s family looked on as the deputy Pierce County prosecutor described his actions in the starkest terms.

“This was basically an execution,” said Afton Gregson. “The video does not support the defendant’s version of events.  He shot the victim 13-to-15 times for no reason, to include emptying his gun into the victim while the victim was laying on the ground helpless.”

Stabler told the judge he had a job until a month ago.

When asked what he did, he said, “Caregiver for my grandmother.”

The judge deemed him a danger to the public.

What he is accused of doing is just part of what some in the area say is unending violence.

“It goes on,” said Tim Davidson, a veteran living in Lakewood. “It’s (the) way we live here these days. People shoot at each other. Can’t seem to get our gun control under control. Too many people don’t want that. So we’re going to have people shot and killed. That’s just the way it is.”

The suspect’s family initially said they would talk, but they scurried away after his bail was set at $1 million.