KENT, Wash. — A man and a woman were shot and killed inside a motel room in Kent Tuesday night.
According to the Kent Police Department (KPD), officers responded to the Kent Valley Motel just after 10:20 p.m. Tuesday after “multiple” people called 911 to report hearing gunshots inside one of the motel rooms. One of the callers told the 911 dispatcher “there has been a murder,” the KPD said.
The motel is located on the 700 block of Central Avenue North, which is just a few blocks south of Kent Memorial Park and north of Mill Creek Middle School.
When officers arrived, they found a 43-year-old man from Kent and a 32-year-old woman from Alaska who had been shot inside one of the motel rooms. Officers attempted life-saving measures, but the KPD said the man and woman “had both already succumbed to their injuries.”
Police said a suspect has not been identified or taken into custody. The department said, “early reports indicate that this was not a random incident.”
KPD Major Crimes detectives responded to the scene and are investigating.
Investigators were still at the scene gathering information and taking photos at 6 a.m. Wednesday. KOMO News crews witnessed officers going in and out of a motel room on the south corner of the building.
The motel appeared to be fairly occupied early Wednesday morning. Someone staying at the motel who spoke with KOMO News said they heard gunshots Tuesday night and that someone was shot.
Across the street from the motel, KOMO News spoke to Abdull, the owner of ‘I Ryde Auto Sales.’ Abdull blames those staying at the ‘Kent Valley Motel,’ for many of the crimes that have made it more than difficult for him to run his business.
“We’ve had 3 or 4 cars stolen,” he said “before we had the fence, they’d just keep stealing the catalytic converters of the cars. They keep breaking windows.”
Abdull said he sees police respond to the motel often. After the shooting Tuesday night, Abdull worries for his own safety,
“I was like woah. I couldn’t even sleep until like 3 o’clock," Abdull says. "I was just like, ‘oh my god.’ how can I go to work the next day?”
Longtime resident Jo Lambert, who lives near the motel, said she has watched over the years as things have deteriorated in this community. Lambert also has concerns about the property.
“You name it, it goes on,” Lambert added, “I would say that this motel is the equivalent to the ones that were out on Aurora.”
Lambert said she is part of the neighborhood watch and has talked to police about their response here.
“Sometimes they’ll stop and tell us, ‘you want to be careful.’ So we’re almost living like prisoners in our own neighborhood,” Lambert said, adding that she finds it hard to enjoy time outside, due to a worry for her safety.
Lambert hopes their concerns can be addressed, by police and the city. She suggested that the motel be closed, but also wonders where those staying there would go if it were shut down.
“I think we need more affordable housing. We need places for people to go to get help, because everybody out here isn’t on drugs, they’re not doing crime,” Lambert said.
We asked Kent City officials about the motel on Wednesday, but did not receive a response.
When asked how often they have responded to the motel and why, Kent Police did offer some data. They said they have been there to take reports on various crimes “like thefts, warrant arrests, assaults and trespassing.” Adding that they took “20 case reports in 2021 and 30 case reports in 2022.”
A section of Central Avenue North was closed for several hours while police investigated. The road was reopened to traffic by 6 a.m.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Kent police at 253-856-5808 or email KPDTips@kentwa.gov.
This story will be updated when more information is available.