September 13, 2013 in City

Deadly shooting at The Hop music club nets two arrests

By The Spokesman-Review

Tensions caused by a gang dispute and the no-show of a rap artist at a Spokane music club erupted into Sunday’s fatal shooting in the parking lot, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Kalen J. Bedford, 23, and Carlos A. Fuentes, 25, face charges of first-degree murder and first-degree assault in the death of 26-year-old Julian D. Morrison at The Hop music club late Sunday night. The two were arrested overnight Wednesday and booked into the Spokane County Jail. They are being held on $1 million bond.

An unnamed witness told investigators they saw Fuentes and Morrison bump into each other while tempers were flaring at the club Sunday night. San Francisco-based rapper Messy Marv was scheduled to perform at the nearby Lincoln Center on Sunday but didn’t show. The Hop, 706 N. Monroe St., booked an afterparty with openers for Messy Marv that was also canceled. Multiple witnesses said the cancellations intensified already agitated attendees, many of whom were members of two rival area gangs.

Club owner Thomas Chavez said Thursday some attendees may have been misinformed, thinking the headliner had moved the performance to his venue.

“The afterparty turned into the ‘party’ when the performance didn’t go off at the Lincoln Center,” Chavez said.

Just before midnight, Morrison left The Hop to smoke, according to a witness. Concertgoers outside in the building’s rear parking lot reported seeing Bedford grab a gun from a parked car and shoot Morrison multiple times, including three times after Morrison had already fallen to the ground. Meanwhile, Fuentes fired into the air and yelled, according to court documents. A total of 14 shell casings were found at the scene, according to investigators.

Lt. Mark Griffiths of the Police Department’s Major Crimes Division said Thursday that the shooting displayed evidence of premeditation. Griffiths said officers learned the identities of the shooting suspects from witnesses Wednesday afternoon, and arrests were made within six hours. Both men were taken into custody without incident.

“At this point, we believe the two people responsible are the two people we have in custody, and there’s no one else outstanding that was involved in this,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths said he hoped the arrests would lead more witnesses to come forward and flesh out the events that led to Morrison’s death.

Both shooting suspects were “well-known” to law enforcement, Griffiths said. Bedford has four felony convictions on his record, including his guilty plea to an assault charge in the November 2011 shooting death of Jose Solis at a hotel near Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. Bedford received a six-month sentence on the charge.

Bedford was also one of several intended targets in a downtown shooting that injured three bystanders at the 2010 Hoopfest event. Bedford was ticketed for misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the incident.

Fuentes pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge as a teenager in 2003. Witnesses placed him at the scene of a drug deal gone bad that resulted in the shooting death of Gene Chamberlin, who was 22 at the time. Another juvenile male, Aro Williams-Walker, was also at the scene and later admitted to firing the single shot that killed Chamberlin. Fuentes received seven years in juvenile detention as a result of the case, while Williams-Walker went to trial and received a 31-year sentence after a jury found him guilty.

Morrison’s criminal record includes a 2011 assault charge where he brandished a rifle in an altercation at a Hillyard trailer park.

Liz Berg, who identified herself as a friend of Morrison, said the victim was on work release and expecting a child with his girlfriend. He left her home about a half-hour before he was shot, Berg said.

“I had no idea anything like that was going to happen,” she said.

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