The drama unfolded at about 3 a.m. Friday in the 20600 block of Military Road in SeaTac when dozens of people staying at a Motel 6 there awoke to the sound of gunfire.
Deputies rushed to the scene after receiving 911 calls about the shooting, said Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Office.
Witnesses told police that a man had pulled up to the motel in a white SUV and had gone to a motel room in the complex. The man appeared to try to enter the room with a key card, but when the door did not open he knocked on the door and was let into the room.
Within a few minutes an argument was heard and then a gunshot. The victim stumbled out of the room and collapsed.
Witnesses said two men and two women fled the room with their faces partially covered by shirts. They were seen speeding away in a dark-colored vehicle, possibly a BMW, West said.
One witness, James Crosby, told KOMO News that he was terrified by the violence.
"It's crazy. I've stayed in motels virtually all over this country. This is the closest I've ever been to anything like this," he said.
West said deputies don't know yet what led up to the shooting. The identity of the victim has not been released.
King County sheriff's detectives are investigating the case and attempting to track the suspects
This is a developing news story. More information will be posted as it becomes available.