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Police: Man who shot at officer may have shot at trooper too

UPDATED: Sat., Sept. 11, 2021

By Gene Johnson Associated Press

SEATTLE – A Kirkland, Washington, man arrested after firing 15 shots toward a uniformed police officer in Renton this week is believed to have previously shot at a state trooper, investigators said.

Frankie Taijon Robertson, 24, was arrested after a car he was riding in fled the shooting Tuesday. King County prosecutors charged him Friday with felony charges of drive-by shooting, assault with a firearm and unlawful gun possession. It was not immediately clear if Robertson had obtained a lawyer.

No one was hurt, but Renton police said surveillance video showed Robertson firing at a patrol car stopped at an intersection after waving at two female bystanders to get out of the way. None of the 15 shots from the .40-caliber handgun struck the cruiser, but one did hit another car.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Renton police, Robertson was also suspected of shooting at a Washington State Patrol trooper in March. Trooper Rick Johnson, a patrol spokesman, said Friday that shooting occurred on the northbound Interstate 5 ramp onto Interstate 405; the trooper’s vehicle was not hit.

The gunman’s hat fell off as he leaned out the window of a vehicle to shoot at the trooper, the probable cause statement said. Investigators recovered the hat and linked DNA taken from it to Robertson.

Troopers also later found the vehicle involved in that case, with a gun inside that also had Robertson’s DNA on it, the statement said.

The King County Prosecutor’s Office requested during a court appearance Thursday that his bail be set at $1 million; pro-tem District Court Judge David O set it at $50,000 – an amount that was increased to $500,000 when charges were filed Friday.

Tuesday’s shooting occurred as a veteran officer drove her patrol car out of a car wash and was waiting to turn left onto South Grady Way. The officer thought a shell casing struck her driver’s side window, and she ducked down and radioed for help as the barrage continued, according to the police report.

When the shooting stopped, witnesses pointed out a red Kia fleeing from a Chevron gas station. Officers responding to an unrelated incident at Renton City Hall heard the shots, saw the fleeing car and stopped it after a brief pursuit in which it drove into the lane of oncoming traffic, the report said.

They arrested Robertson and the Kia’s driver, Lamonta Joseph Steward, 23, of Seattle. Steward was charged Friday with rendering criminal assistance and attempting to elude police. It was not clear if he had an attorney.

Washington State Patrol detectives responded to the scene to question Robertson about the earlier shooting, the report said.

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