Stock photo, Metro Creative Graphics

Man charged with attempting to kill two Kent homeless women

Reportedly became upset when they turned down his sexual propositions

A 36-year-old Tacoma man faces two counts of first-degree attempted murder for allegedly shooting two homeless women last year in Kent after they refused to have sex with him.

King County prosecutors on April 21 charged James-David Joseph Algarin, who lived in Kent at the time of the shootings on April 14, 2022, for shooting and injuring the two women after he stalked them that night. Each count includes a firearm enhancement.

Prosecutors asked for Algarin to be held on $1.5 million bail and the court agreed, according to an April 25 email from Casey McNerthney, spokesperson for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Algarin is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. May 4 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Algarin remains in custody in the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle, according to jail records.

After a year-long investigation, Kent Police arrested Algarin on April 20, 2023 at Sea-Tac Airport as he was waiting to pick up friends, according to charging papers. He was taken into custody without incident.

“In this referral, the defendant stalked homeless women at night around Kent for the purpose of propositioning them for sex then shooting them,” wrote Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Herschkowitz in court documents. “... Although the defendant has no significant criminal history, his premeditated search and hunt for homeless women in Kent resulted in the shooting of both women in one night and close in time. The defendant used a pistol at the first shooting and then re-armed himself with an AR-15 rifle to shoot his second victim. ... The fact the defendant lured both women into darkened areas of Kent at night equipped with two different types of firearms and without provocation shot both women is very concerning.”

According to court documents, Kent Police officers responded at about 11:01 p.m. April 14, 2022 to the Lincoln Street Park and Ride, 902 W. James St., after a 911 call by witnesses who heard at one least one gunshot and observed a red passenger car leaving the lot after the gunshot.

An officer found a woman lying in one of the raised landscape areas of the parking lot. The officer noted she had gunshot wounds to her rib cage and back. Puget Sound Fire medics arrived and the woman was transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with life-threatening injuries.

Witnesses told officers the red sedan returned after the initial shooting and a shot was fired from the vehicle toward the area where the woman had first been shot.

The woman survived her injuries and detectives later interviewed her several times. She told detectives a man picked her up in his vehicle near the 7-Eleven at 511 Central Ave. S. She sat in the front passenger seat and noticed the man had a gun holstered on his right hip.

The man exposed himself and told the woman he wanted her to make him feel good. The woman said she told the man she needed to go and that he got very upset. She got out of the car as it was parked at the Park and Ride lot. She said she only made it a few steps when she was shot. She said she did not know the man.

Second woman shot

Thirty-six minutes after the Park and Ride lot shooting, officers were dispatched at about 11:37 p.m. to a report of a shooting victim in the 200 block of East Saar St., just behind Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Officers found the woman lying in the street with several gunshot wounds, including one to the back of her head, according to charging documents. She told the officers she didn’t know who shot her. Paramedics transported the woman to Harborview Medical Center.

Detectives were unable to interview the woman until June 2, 2022. She was still in the hospital recovering. The woman was unable to recall any details about the shooting.

Detectives collected video surveillance from nearby businesses to help determine what happened. The woman was walking on East Saar Street when a driver of a red sedan approaches her and begins to talk with her at the driver’s door. They talked for about 90 seconds before the woman starts to walk away.

The driver exited the vehicle and fired two shots at the woman, according to charging documents. Both shots apparently missed. The woman then began to run and the driver fired four more shots which caused the woman to fall to the ground. Because of the shot to the head, the woman’s quality of life will permanently be affected, according to court documents.

Based on descriptions from witnesses at the Park and Ride shooting and video from the Saar Street incident, detectives determined the same red late model Subaru WRX was most likely responsible for both shootings.

The car had lettering on the tires that are part of a custom tire lettering kit typically ordered online, according to court documents. Detectives were able to track down the order and found a Kent address for Algarin and a Poulsbo address. Detectives then discovered Algarin had a red 2017 Subaru WRX registered in his name.

Detectives tracked down a girlfriend of Algarin’s in Colorado who reportedly bought two guns for him which he brought back in November 2021 on a Southwest Airlines flight. Detectives found a Southwest Airlines firearms declaration tag when they searched his Kent apartment.

Detectives took a cellphone of Algarin’s into possession in May 2022 but initially did not have the software to crack his passcode. On April 2, 2023, detectives received a forensic download of the phone. That information helped place Algarin in the areas of the shootings.

The phone also had text messages Algarin reportedly exchanged the night of the shootings with a female friend he would stay with. One of his messages was, “Less homeless ppl.”

The phone also had images of Algarin holding an AR-15 pistol, the same one bought for him in Colorado.

After the arrest of Algarin, detectives obtained a search warrant for the address where Algarin lived with two friends in Tacoma. Detectives found dozens of rounds of .223 ammunition, several AR-15 magazines and a bullpup shotgun.

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