Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO, Kent News

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO, Kent News

Kent man receives 10-year sentence for 2022 fatal shooting

Killed man at apartment complex after a dispute over a parking stall

A Kent man received a sentence of 10 years and two months after a King County Superior Court jury convicted him of second-degree murder with a firearm enhancement for shooting another man in August 2022 over a parking stall dispute.

King County prosecutors asked the court to sentence Stephen A. Tullier, 71, at the time of the shooting, to 16 years. He shot Juan Manuel Bacio Vasquez, 28, on Aug. 19, 2022 in the parking lot of the Riverwood Apartments, 24620 Russell Road. Vasquez died from a gunshot wound that transected his aorta before it became embedded in the vertebrae of his spine, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Judge Veronica Alicea Galvan issued the sentence on Feb. 2, according to court documents. Tullier also received an additional three years of community custody. He has appealed the sentencing and remains in the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

The dispute began between a woman and Tullier, according to charging papers. A vehicle had parked in the fire lane at the apartment complex, which partially blocked his assigned parking stall, Tullier told a Kent Police detective. He saw a female walking to the vehicle and confronted her about where she parked.

Tullier said the conversation turned confrontational and heated words were exchanged. The woman then got into her vehicle and drove away.

Tullier said he returned to his third-floor apartment and a short time later heard a man (Bacio Vasquez) shouting obscenities at him from the parking lot, according to court documents. Tullier, who said he was armed with a 9mm firearm, walked down to confront the man about the vehicle in the fire lane.

The altercation reportedly turned physical and Bacio Vasquez told Tullier he knew he had a gun and he needed to put the gun away, according to court documents. The two men pushed each other and eventually Tullier fell down several steps at the complex. Tullier then reportedly got up and fired a shot at Bacio Vasquez, hitting him in the abdomen.

Police used a statement from a witness and cellphone video captured by the 10-year-old son of Bacio Vasquez to help determine what happened.

A witness told police Bacio Vasquez did not make any aggressive movement toward Tullier prior to being shot. Tullier told police he fired in self-defense because Bacio Vasquez was coming at him, but the cellphone video did not back up his story, according to charging papers.

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