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Suspect in fatal shooting of 2 in Key Peninsula claims self-defense

Luke and Beth Slawson were shot to death Saturday morning. (Family photo)

A Key Peninsula man is being held without bail in a domestic violence incident in which a couple was shot and killed while their 2-year-old was nearby.

He is claiming self-defense.

The child wasn't hurt, but he'll have to grow up without his parents, Luke and Beth Slawson.


"It's a tragedy," said Luke's cousin David Hacker. "It should never have happened." Luke was shot and killed Saturday morning after his wife, Beth, was killed, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. Reportedly they tried to intercede in a domestic violence incident between the suspect and Beth's sister. KOMO News is not naming him because he has not yet been charged.

"They went there for a distress call, and they ended up getting murdered.," said Hacker. "And now they have two children that they left behind."

The Sheriff's Department said it happened early Saturday morning at the Key Peninsula home where the suspect and girlfriend were staying with her mother. The family said the sister summoned Beth and Luke Slawson to come help her. They say Beth Slawson confronted the suspect and ended up getting shot.

As for Luke Slawson, Hacker said, " I heard he walked up and seen Beth was shot and said 'You just killed my baby's mother,' and that's where it escalated and he ended up getting shot."

But in court Monday the deputy prosecutor said the suspect claims it was self-defense. The Sheriff's Department says the two men did exchange gunfire.


Sheriff's Department spokesman Detective. Ed Troyer explained, "And these are not people with expert marksmanship skills as we could determine by all of the rounds in other places and it hit other things. So the 2-year-old is very lucky." He and his 16-year-old sister are staying with family.

A 'Gofundme' page has been set up to the help the family.

This is the second tragic loss for the family in recent years. Beth's sister Amanda died in a car crash in 2-1/2 years ago that also claimed her unborn child. At the time she was set to marry the very same man who is now the boyfriend of her sister and is the suspect in this fatal shooting.

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