Police: Man’s stabbing death in Edmonds grocery store lot was targeted attack, not carjacking

EDMONDS, Wash. — Edmonds police say the fatal stabbing of a man in a Winco parking lot last week was not the result of a carjacking as first thought.

Instead, it was a targeted attack by the suspect, Ian S. Bramel-Allen, who appeared to have been waiting for the victim to come out of the grocery store, according to Edmonds police detectives.

On Thursday, the Snohomish Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Bret D. Northcut, 37, of Portland, Oregon.

Police said Bramel-Allen only stole the Kia Sorento that Northcut had been driving after stabbing him to death on Apr. 19.

Surveillance video showed Bramel-Allen walking into the Winco parking lot and over to the Kia, where he appeared to try to open the passenger side door, which was locked. He then waited behind a retail kiosk outside the Winco exit doors, where he could not be seen by people leaving the store.

As Northcut left the store, Bramel-Allen followed him into the parking lot from a distance of about 20 to 30 feet, the video showed. When Northcut got within a few feet of the car and unlocked it, Bramel-Allen ran at him and stabbed the man for about 18 seconds until he collapsed, according to police.

Bramel-Allen then got into the Kia and left. Northcut died from his injuries.

How Bramel-Allen knew Northcut was at the Winco is under investigation.

Edmonds police have not said what Bramel-Allen’s motive was in the attack. They said the Kia was owned by a woman who was staying in Edmonds around the time of the murder. Police discovered that the woman’s daughter often used the SUV and had been visiting her mother in Edmonds.

Police said the daughter is acquainted with both Bramel-Allen and Northcut, and that Northcut had been allowed to use the Kia to go to Winco for food.

Bramel-Allen remains at Harborview Medical Center with wounds he inflicted on himself before his arrest in Seattle on Apr. 20. Once he is cleared to be released, he will be booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and car theft.

Anyone with information about the stabbing or Bramel-Allen’s whereabouts before or after the attack is asked to contact Edmonds Police Det. Patrick Clark at Patrick.clark@edmondswa.gov or 425-774-0285.

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