Lacey Police have arrested John S. Santos, 27, in connection with the Sunday shooting death of a 28-year-old man.
Investigators believe Santos shot the victim so he could steal a small amount of drugs, said Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Lippert in court on Monday.
“He is dangerously unpredictable. ... There was no reason for Santos to kill his victim in this case,” Lippert told Thurston County Superior Court Commissioner Nathan Kortokrax.
Santos, of Lacey, was booked into the Thurston County jail at about 1 a.m. Monday, and appeared before Court Commissioner Kortokrax that afternoon. Kortokrax found probable cause for a first-degree murder charge, and ordered Santos held without bail.
Coroner Gary Warnock said Monday that he was unable to release the victim’s name. Lacey Police reported that he had an out-of-state driver’s license.
Officers were dispatched to the 7000 block of 14th Avenue Southeast in Lacey on Sunday after a 911 caller reported that someone was lying by the side of the road. The caller believed that the man had been hit by a car, according to court documents.
The man wasn’t moving, and his face was covered in blood. Medics told officers that the man was dead, and had likely been shot in the head. An X-ray showed that the man had been shot with buckshot-type rounds.
The victim’s girlfriend told police that the victim had planned to meet Santos to sell him methamphetamine on Sunday afternoon, according to court documents.
He never returned.
Santos’ parents reported their car stolen a few weeks ago. Officers found the car parked outside of the Days Inn on Quinault Drive.
The officers found Santos and his girlfriend inside and arrested them.
When an officer asked Santos’ girlfriend if she knew why they were there, she started to cry and said, “John shot (the victim),” according to court documents.
The woman told police that Santos had provided the victim with heroin on a nearly daily basis. On Sunday, Santos was going to purchase methamphetamine from the victim. Santos arranged to meet the victim Sunday at his home on 14th Avenue Southeast.
The woman and Santos waited for the victim in her car. Santos was in the back, and the victim climbed into the front passenger seat. The woman began driving.
She said she heard a loud “bang,” and saw Santos shoot the victim in the head, according to court documents.
The woman reported that Santos dragged the victim from the car and left him in the bushes. She said she didn’t know ahead of time that Santos was going to shoot the victim.
Santos told police twice that he didn’t understand his Miranda rights, so they were unable to take a statement.
Police searched Santos’ hotel room and found a shotgun consistent with the type of weapon used to kill the victim, according to court documents.