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Lewis County homicide suspect in custody

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 25, 2010, 9:47 P.M.

A man wanted for killing three people and wounding another in Salkum, Wash., on Saturday was captured Wednesday in Spokane.

Members of the Eastern Washington Fugitive Task Force arrested John Allen Booth Jr., 31, at 5:30 p.m. at a home in the 1900 block of West Gordon Street in Spokane. He was lodged into the Spokane County Jail, police said.

Booth, of Onalaska, has been the subject of a manhunt since Saturday morning. Police tracked him to Spokane on Saturday afternoon, but he eluded capture.

Chief Deputy U.S. Marhsal Eric Marks said their Tacoma office received information that Booth may have been in the Garland District. They surveyed the neighborhood for about 16 hours to locate Booth.

“It’s nice to take somebody like this out of our community,” Marks said.

Booth was arrested peacefully; he came out of the home with his hands up, unarmed, Marks said.

Michael Yaeger, who owns the home where Booth stayed for at least four nights, said a neighbor across the street brought Booth to him. Booth and the neighbor told Yaegar his name was “Pete” and that he needed a place to crash because of marital problems, Yaegar said.

“There’s no way I was harboring him. If I would have known who he was, I would have called the cops,” he said.

One neighbor, Janet Ferg, said she has lived in the neighborhood for 45 years. She said that while some neighbors have had issues with Yaeger, she thinks he’s a good person.

“Mike has a big heart. If someone is homeless he offers them a place to lay their head. That’s how he got in trouble in the past,” she said.

Hours after Booth was arrested, a police K9 unit searched Yaegar’s home, and the home of the neighbor who introduced Booth to Yaegar.

Booth is expected to be returned to Lewis County soon, police said. Marks believes he will be arraigned in Spokane.

Authorities have said they believe the shooter may have been trying to collect on a drug debt last Saturday at a home in Salkum, which is southeast of Chehalis on Highway 12.

Killed were 52-year-old David J. West Sr., his 16-year-old son, David Jr., both of Salkum, and 50-year-old Tony E. Williams, of Mineral.

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