Musicians ask for help to solve Federal Way teenager's murder

Jeff McLaren's friends and former bandmates play music to remember him. (KOMO photo)

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- He brought out the best in people, according to friends, and now they are stunned someone would want him dead.

Jeff McLaren was just days away from his 20th birthday when he was shot dead in a parking lot outside his apartment complex in Federal Way. Police struggled to find witnesses at the crime scene, and now a group of musicians McLaren once performed have turned to the public for help.

"I always felt that I was a better person whenever I was around him," said Matt Brown, a friend of McLaren, and a singer and guitarist in their former band Flat Out Refusal.

McLaren played bass for the group, and even though they split up the band some time ago, everyone remained friends.

"He was always down for adventure and he was always backing up his friends and he was always just there for his friends no matter what," said Montana Cromwell, the drummer.

Federal Way Police got a call from The Cove Apartment Homes Sunday night reporting gunfire in the parking lot.

"No witnesses. They just found him between two cars with a gunshot wound," said Silas Stokes, the band's lead guitarist.

McLaren died from multiple gunshot wounds, police said, and now the search is on for the killer.

"It's really heartbreaking that our friend was just taken," Cromwell said.

As for a motive, friends said McLaren may have recently gotten into some bad situations. They just hope the lack of witnesses coming forward doesn't stop tips from coming in.

"It would be so helpful, and just so important to reach out and tell the Federal Way Police Department," Brown said.

A vigil is planned at Lake Geneva Park in Auburn at 7 p.m. Saturday.

On Tuesday, the remaining members ofFlat Out Refusal got together to play music and remember their friend.

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