A 26-year-old Seattle man is now being charged with second-degree murder as the 68-year-old University Place man he reportedly shot in a road rage incident has died.
Mark Keith Smith entered a plea of not guilty in Kitsap County Superior Court July 26. Bail was set at $1 million. He faces life in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Victim Patrick Weems died a few hours after the shooting at 6:59 p.m.
The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reported at 2:20 p.m. July 25 that a portion of eastbound Highway 16 in Gorst just west of the Port Orchard exit was closed by law enforcement. State Patrol trooper Katherine Weatherwax clarified that a road rage incident led to shots being fired.
A State Patrol news release says the two were driving aggressively westbound on Highway 16 at Mullenix Road. They stopped at a parking lot in Gorst. Smith got out of his car with a gun, while Weems exited his vehicle with a baseball bat. Smith shot Weems in the head, the release alleges. Weems was transported to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma in critical condition, but he later died.
Smith left the scene, but was located at Lake Flora Road near Highway 3 by Bremerton police. WSP detective probable cause papers say officers searched the area and found a Baretta 9mm handgun and a pistol magazine.
In a police interview, Smith said he pulled behind Weems, who flipped him off, so Smith flashed his lights back. Smith said Weems tried to run him off the road numerous times. Smith advised Weems to pull over, thinking they would fight. When he saw Weems with the baseball bat he said he just wanted to talk.
But Weems then went to grab Smith’s gun in his pocket, and in self-defense, the gun went off, Smith said. He added he was scared so he took the back roads, “ditched” his backpack and gun, changed his shirt and removed the “Hoonigan” sticker from the back of his vehicle.
The detective in the reports says he watched cell phone footage that shows Weems grabbing at Smith’s arm to push the gun away and then Smith sweeping the gun from him and allegedly firing directly into the victim’s head.
Weatherwax provided an update at 3:36 p.m. that one lane of traffic would begin to reopen. Traffic delays impacted both Highway 16 commuters and southbound travelers on Highway 3 from Silverdale and West Bremerton.