UPDATE: Shooter Arrested, Victim Dies
UPDATE 7:30am 5/6/08: Sadly, Ben Laumea, the victim of a shooting at the MVP Sports Bar early Sunday, died yesterday of injuries suffered.
According the the Bellingham Herald, King County prosecutors have filed charges in the case of a man who was shot in the head with what a witness says was an assault rifle.
Bruce Sivao Matagi is scheduled for arraignment May 15 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent on charges of attempted first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Prosecutors said Monday they would ask that bail be set at $3 million.
First reports were that Ben Laumea, a father of six, was in such bad shape that deputies initially reported him dead. Doctors at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle allegedly found that the bullet entered Laumea’s and exited the back of his skull.
He has since passed away from his injuries.
He risked his life early Sunday when a gunman burst into the bar in Burien around 1 am with an assault rifle. The gunman began firing in the crowded bar, riddling the ceiling with bullet holes as bar patrons fled for cover.
When the gunman reached the front of the bar, he got into a scuffle with Laumea, who used to work as a bouncer at the bar. That’s when Laumea took a bullet and slumped behind the bar. The shooter fled the scene and no one else was hurt.
Friends and family call him “Big Ben.”
“Big guy, Big teddy bear,” said family friend Tikeri Liousamoa.
Liousamoa says she talked to Laumea just hours before gunfire erupted.
“It’s kind of hard and see someone that day and then in five minutes, you lose them, or something bad happens to them,” she said, wiping away the tears.
Laumea worked for years at the bar in the 12800 block of Ambaum Boulevard. He wasn’t working Saturday, but jumped in to help when the gunman began firing recklessly.
Liousamoa hears the shooting may be savage payback.
“From what they said he was targeting Ben,” she said.
A bouncer recognized the gunman as a former customer who was kicked out of the bar several days earlier for fighting.
“When you hear your own people hurting each other, it’s a blow,” said Liousamoa. “Samoans, you know, we have big hearts. We were taught better than that.”
Formerly known as Marioâ€™s, this bar has seen its share of troubles before, most notoriously in 1974 when serial killer Ted Bundy killed Brenda Ball, whom he met there.Â