A 48-year-old Lacey man accused of fatally shooting a man on Saturday is being held in Thurston County jail in lieu of $500,000.
Aaron Patrick Costello attended his preliminary appearance in Thurston County Superior Court on Monday. Lacey police arrested him Saturday on suspicion of second-degree murder.
The shooting occurred before 6:12 p.m. in a parking lot on the 2500 block of Marvin Road Northeast in the Hawks Prairie area. Lacey police previously said they responded to reports of a “traffic-related disturbance” and found one man with a gunshot wound.
Coroner Gary Warnock has identified the man who was shot to death as Shawn Jemtegaard, a 42-year-old Lacey man. He died after being transported to an area hospital, according to Lacey police.
Judge John Skinder set the bail amount for Costello on Monday after finding probable cause for the alleged crime. In doing so, he reasoned there was a substantial likelihood Costello may commit a violent offense if released.
“This case is somewhat unusual in the sense that Mr. Costello does not have any prior significant criminal history, but the nature of the allegation is so extreme,” Skinder said.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Wayne Graham requested the high bail and invited Chelsea Jemtegaard, the victim’s wife, to speak.
“I am a single mother now of six children,” Chelsea Jemtegaard said. “One of the children was on the scene with his father and witnessed his father in the incident. To have him (Costello) out would be terrifying at this point.”
Defense Attorney Christian Cabrera said Costello did not start the incident and he cooperated with law enforcement at the scene.
“It is very unfortunate, your honor,” Cabrera said. “Mr. Costello was just driving back to work. According to the PC (probable cause) statement, he did not instigate this. He was just going to work and was confronted by this gentleman that had a child in the car.”
The probable cause statement described the investigation into the incident from the perspective of law enforcement.
An officer arrived at the scene Saturday evening and observed several people gathered around Shawn Jemtegaard, according to the statement.
A witness reportedly applied pressure to Jemtegaard’s torso as he sat hunched over in a mud puddle. The statement says the officer observed a dime-sized gunshot wound with no active bleeding on the man’s torso.
The county jail roster lists Costello’s occupation as a pizza delivery driver. His manager told the officer that Costello defended himself. He said Jemtegaard chased Costello in his vehicle and assaulted him prior to the shooting, according to the statement.
Costello had been waiting by his manager’s vehicle after the incident. He reportedly pointed the officer to the firearm on the floorboard of the vehicle and called it a “0.380” pistol.
The officer then detained Costello in handcuffs and placed him in his patrol vehicle while he interviewed additional witnesses.
One witness told the officer she heard a verbal disturbance between two men that turned into a physical altercation. She reported hearing a “pop sound” and Jemtegaard yelling, “Oh my god, you just shot me.”
Another witness told the officer she saw Costello tell his manager, “There’s a guy bleeding over there. I just popped him,” the statement says.
The witness added she heard Costello tell his manager that he cut off Jemtegaard in traffic and Jemtegaard followed him. She also overheard Costello allege Jemtegaard pushed him.
Costello later told the officer he experienced chest pain and difficulty breathing due to being pushed by Jemtegaard, according to the probably cause statement. He also reportedly said, “All I will say to you is that I acted out of self-defense.”
Medics transported Jemtegaard to Providence St. Peter Hospital for emergency surgery, but the statement says his injuries were “unrepairable.”
Jemtegaard’s 13-year-old son reportedly was sitting in the front passenger seat of his father’s vehicle at the scene. His mother reportedly picked him up and they both went to the hospital.
Police later obtained the weapon after securing the vehicle. The statement describes it as a “Remington Arms RM380” with a loaded magazine inserted.
A single spent shell casing was recovered at the scene of the shooting, and police reported that it matched a bullet in the chamber of the firearm.
Costello’s arraignment hearing has been scheduled for May 9.