Accused Top Hat Gunman’s Bail Set At $250,000

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Steven TuimaseveBURIEN – The accused gunman who shot an retired Boeing employee and Navy veteran on his doorstep Sunday faced a judge Monday who assigned a $250,000 bail. 

Investigators believe Steven E. Tuimaseve shot Frank Curtis at point-blank range after Curtis refused to let him use the phone when he showed up at his doorstep at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Investigators said Curtis, 78, was asleep when he heard someone knocking at the door at his home in the 200 block of SW 116th Street in the Top Hat neighborhood between White Center and Burien.

Answering the door, he saw a man he didn’t recognize standing there, asking to use the phone.

The victim refused to let the man inside because he didn’t know him and because he appeared to be intoxicated. Tuimaseve then allegedly shot Curtis through the glass door, hitting him in the shoulder.

Curtis was hospitalized with shoulder injuries and powder burns to his face. He is expected to recover.

Members of the victim’s family were awakened by the shot and called police. The gunman was arrested a short while later about a block away.

Sean Winchester, a friend of the victim, said the victim did not know the gunman, and the only apparent motive was that he was upset over the victim’s refusal to let him use a phone.

Even so, the victim’s son Sean Curtis said he saw the warning signs long before the shooting took place.

He said Tuimaseve spent a lot of time at the family’s next-door neighbor’s home and was part of a group that brought “noise and garbage” to the neighborhood.

Sean said he never spoke to Tuimaseve, but said he’s had several run-ins with others who frequented his neighbor’s house.

“The conversations have always been confrontational. I was confronted by several males who shouted out racist comments at me. Everything is our fault,” he wrote in an email to KOMO 4 News.

Sean said the neighbor’s home is notorious for hosting wild parties with “…loud music to the point where knick-knacks in our house vibrate on the shelves, drug use (the smell of marijuana can be smelled to the point where we have to shut our windows).”

Sean said he has been reporting the trash issue to environmental health officials and the noise disturbances to the police, but a permanent solution has yet to be found.

Tuimaseve, 25, is a convicted felon who was placed on active supervision by the state Department of Corrections after being released from jail about a year ago. His record includes several felony convictions, including assault, attempted robbery and domestic violence.

Winchester described the victim as a “good man,” a 20-year veteran of the Navy and retired Boeing machinist who “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

“When things got bad for me, when the economy tanked, they took care of me for a while, and now I’m here doing what I can for the family,” he said.


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