Burien man charged with 1st Degree Murder for double homicide in Kent
Leland Russell Jr., a 29-year-old Burien man, was charged Monday with two counts of Murder in the First Degree with Firearm Enhancements for last Wednesday’s double homicide at a gas station in Kent.
The defendant is accused in the shooting deaths of two employees of the gas station, David Christianson and Carlos Gonzalez.
According to the King County Prosecutors Office:
Prosecutors allege that Russell and another man arrived at the busy gas station during the morning commute and started arguments with several customers who were attempting to use the business’s services. Witnesses said the defendant and his friend were rude and combative toward customers and Shell Station employees before they were told to leave by the victims. After the defendant’s friend started to physically assault one of the victims, Russell allegedly retrieved his gun from his vehicle and shot the two unarmed victims multiple times at close range.
“This was an absolutely senseless and outrageous act of gun violence that claimed two innocent lives,” said King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg. “The evidence shows that the defendant and his friend came to the gas station looking for trouble,” he said. “As his friend provoked a fist fight with a store clerk, the defendant retrieved his gun from his car and, without warning, fired multiple rounds, killing Mr. Gonzales, the store clerk, and Mr. Christianson, the store manager who was trying to break up the fist fight,” Satterberg said.
Bail was originally set at $2 million, but prosecutors requested and the court ordered that bail be denied for the defendant because of the danger he poses to the community. Russell will be arraigned on September 4 at 9 a.m. in courtroom GA of the Maleng Regional Justice Center. If convicted as charged, the sentence range is 50 to 63 years in prison. The case is being handled by Senior Deputy Prosecutors Jessica Berliner and Karissa Taylor.