From our sister site The White Center Blog:

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s this week filed charges against Omar A. Upham Jr., 21, accused of shooting three people and killing one at Roxbury Lanes & Casino the night of Monday, May 27, 2023.

Prosecutors are charging Upham with Murder in the First Degree with a firearm enhancement for the shooting death of Hung Quoc Nguyen and Attempted Murder in the First Degree with a firearm enhancement for shooting John Leota and Chheng Oung.

Prosecutors are charging Upham with:

  • Murder in the First Degree with a firearm enhancement (one count)
  • Attempted Murder in the First Degree with a firearm enhancement (two counts)
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the First Degree (two counts)

The crimes of Murder in the First Degree and Attempted Murder in the First Degree carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

As The White Center Blog previously reported, on May 27, witnesses reported that a lone shooter fired approximately four to five rounds into a crowded room of patrons, striking three victims and eventually killing one.

The victims were identified as a security guard employed by Roxbury Lanes, John Leota; another employee, Chheng Oung; and a patron, Hung Quoc Nguyen.

  • Charging docs say that the suspect entered Roxbury Lands from the front doors wearing a dark hooded jacket, blue jeans, white shoes, and a light-colored facemask.
  • The suspect had his hood up and over his head as he walked inside.
  • According to a witness, a security guard posted at the entrance of the casino area observed the suspect approach the front doors.
  • The suspect slid the sleeve of his jacket over his hand and pulled open the door with his covered hand.
  • Video footage showed the suspect walk up to John Leota, who was seated at a podium midway between the front doors and the casino room. The suspect then removed a handgun from his pocket and opened fire on Leota. Just before the suspect began shooting, Leota turned and ran into the crowded casino. Leota dashed past a card table where Hung Nguyen was seated and pushed past Chheng Oung as he headed towards a back door. The suspect ran after Leota firing several rounds in Leota’s direction. Surveillance video captures one of the rounds striking Nguyen in the back of the head. Nguyen’s head quickly jerks forward before he falls backward onto the ground. Simultaneously, Oung is seen falling to the ground, holding her stomach, and rolling around in apparent agony. Leota is seen falling to the ground just before he reaches the back of the casino.
  • The suspect then quickly turns and runs out of the casino, and across the parking lot, towards a residential area south of the casino, towards the Safeway across the street from the scene.
  • Four .40 caliber casings and two bullet projectiles were recovered from the casino. The casings were entered into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN)

Prosecutors say that Upham went to Roxbury Lanes with the clear intent to kill Leota. After first casing the neighborhood of Leota’s mother’s house, prosecutors say Upham drove to the Roxbury Lanes, walked straight in and opened fire. Leota, recognizing his assailant, attempted to flee but was shot twice from behind in the crowded casino. Hung Nguyen, a patron of the casino, was sitting at a card table when one of the shots the defendant intended for Leota struck him in the back of the skull. He instantly fell to the floor and never recovered consciousness.

Leota suffered two gunshot wounds to the back, and Oung was shot once in the abdomen, causing severe kidney and liver damage. Nguyen was shot in the back of the head. All three victims were transported to Harborview Medical Center. On May 31, 2023, Nguyen was pronounced deceased at 0924 hours. According to King County Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Amanda Maskovyak, who conducted the autopsy on Nguyen, he was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. The bullet entered the back of the head and exited the front. Dr. Maskovyak ruled Nguyen’s death as homicide.

Upham was arrested June 1, 2023 at his place of employment in Seattle. During the search of Upham’s home, an AR-15 rifle and an extended magazine for a 9mm semiautomatic pistol (but no pistol) were located. A search warrant was granted to search his blue Saturn. In the trunk of the car, clothing consistent with what the murder suspect was wearing was recovered (a black hooded sweater turned inside out, tattered blue jeans with a black Nike belt, and white shoes). A black Louis Vuitton bag was also found in the trunk. Inside the bag was a stolen .40 caliber Ruger P94 handgun (Serial no. 340-63995) and a .45 caliber Glock-type handgun with an extended loaded magazine. Both firearms were test fired, and the casings from those test fires were entered into NIBIN. On June 2, 2023, detectives received a NIBIN notification indicating a presumptive match between the .40 caliber casing test fired from the Ruger and the .40 caliber casings found at the scene of the shooting.

Here’s more from charging docs:

Searches of the defendant’s home and car turned up three separate firearms, including the murder weapon, and an extended magazine for a fourth.

The suspect is a convicted felon, with a history of committing armed robberies and assault. In 19-1-06156-8 (the case which led to his pursuit of Leota) he pled guilty to Robbery in the First Degree for a robbery at a Metro PCS store in which his codefendant was armed with a firearm; as part of that agreement the State agreed not to file a further Robbery in the First Degree charge arising out of SPD 19-445381. In cause number 18-8-00805-2 (JUV) the defendant pled guilty to Robbery in the Second Degree for assaulting a former fellow student and stealing his backpack. In 18-8-00334-4 (JUV) the defendant pled guilty to Theft in the First Degree, reduced from Robbery in the First Degree, for assaulting a stranger and stealing his cell phone and wallet. The defendant also has a prior conviction for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in the Second Degree, from cause number 19-8- 00004-1 (JUV).

The defendant also has prior convictions for Assault 4 and one prior conviction for Harassment, all committed while still a juvenile. The defendant was in custody on 19-1- 06156-8 until October 2022. Only a few weeks later the first attack targeting John Leota took place.

“The defendant acted in utter disregard for the safety of anyone present in his single-minded attempt to murder Leota in his workplace,” prosecutors said. “He was unsuccessful in that attempt, which was possibly his third such attempt in the last eight months, although he did kill one innocent bystander and injure another. With such apparently easy access to firearms and complete disregard for the orders of courts and his community custody conditions, this court has every reason to believe that if released on any amount of bail the defendant would immediately make further attempts on Leota’s life.

“One innocent person has already lost his life and another is gravely injured; others will follow if the defendant is released into the community. No amount of bail or conditions of release can give this court confidence that Leota and the community will be safe if the defendant is out of custody.”

Prosecutors asked that Upham be held without bail.

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