Second man faces murder charge in 2022 Kent apartment shooting

Auburn man, 18, accused along with Seattle man, 20, of fatal shooting at Irwin Park Apartments

King County prosecutors have charged a second man with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree assault for allegedly fatally shooting one man and injuring two others in 2022 when he and another man fired at least 22 shots inside a Kent apartment.

J’Lijah Lee Garcia, 18, of Auburn, faces a first-degree murder charge for reportedly killing Reese Gainer, 23, and injuring two other men during a shooting at about 8:45 p.m. Aug. 28, 2022 inside an unit at the Irwin Park Apartments, 25822 110th Ave. SE, according to King County Superior Court documents. Gainer was in the process of moving to the Seattle area from Atlanta, Georgia.

Prosecutors charged Dijion Ray Taylor-Johnson, then 19, of Seattle, in October 2022 with the same crimes as Garcia and an additional first-degree assault for a shooting the same day in Seattle as the Kent shootings. Auburn Police arrested Taylor-Johnson in September 2022 in an unrelated shooting and he reportedly was tied to the Kent case.

Taylor-Johnson told Kent Police that another man (Garcia) had fired all the shots inside the Kent apartment. Police did not arrest Garcia until last month.

Garcia remains in the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle with bail set at $2.5 million, according to jail records. Taylor-Johnson, now 20, also is in the county jail in Seattle with bail set at $4 million.

In addition to the Kent charges, Garcia faces two counts of drive-by shooting, one for reportedly firing shots about 90 minutes after the Kent shooting at a Safeway gas station on Rainier Avenue South in Seattle, and the other count for a shooting Aug. 5, 2022 at a gas station in the 17200 block of 140th Avenue SE in Fairwood. He also faces a second-degree assault charge for an Aug. 5 shooting.

Garcia is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Jan. 17 in the GA Courtroom at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

The shooting at the Kent apartment reportedly came as Taylor-Johnson feared a revenge shooting from a man (not Gainer) he had shot and injured earlier in the day in Seattle, according to charging papers. Taylor-Johnson said he went to the apartment that he had been asked to move out of to retrieve some of his belongings, and the man he earlier shot in Seattle was at the Kent apartment.

Taylor-Johnson told detectives he asked Garcia to come with him because he was concerned about a retaliation shooting. Taylor-Johnson said he and Garcia were armed with pistols, but claims Garcia did all of the shooting.

He said Garcia began shooting into the back sliding door and wanted him to shoot as well, but he refused. He said Garcia then struck him in the face, knocking him to the ground and his gun out of his pocket. He said Garcia then reached down, picked up the gun and walked over the sliding door, stepped into the living room and shot Gainer and another man.

When Kent Police officers arrived at the apartment, they found one man conscious outside the rear sliding glass door, according to police documents. He had been shot at least twice in the upper portion of his back. Another man had multiple gunshot wounds and was laying on the living room floor. Gainer was unconscious and laying near the other man on the living room floor. He had multiple gunshot wounds.

Gainer later died at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He suffered four gunshot wounds, two went through his head and caused his death, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The man Taylor-Johnson reportedly shot earlier in the day in Seattle also confronted Taylor-Johnson about an affair Taylor-Johnson allegedly was having with one of his friends.

Kent detectives tracked down Garcia in October 2022 and temporarily took him into custody to retrieve his cellphone, according to charging documents. Detectives used information from the cellphone to help connect Garcia to the Kent shootings.

Detectives didn’t indicate in the police report how they finally tracked down Garcia to arrest him last month. A Federal Way Police report showed that he was arrested Dec. 28, 2023 in Federal Way by Kent Police.

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