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Ing writes:

Dennis Clark III went to the Pinewood Village apartments in Federal Way, Washington yesterday intending to kill his girlfriend. But what started as domestic violence spiraled into a game of whack-a-witness. The bad guy made three more unexpected stops on his killing rounds — every one of which might have been his last if only one of the victims had had the means to defend themselves . . .

First the intended victim, who had apparently called the police on her boyfriend twice before. Which maybe should have been a sign that she needed to set her boots to walking to the nearest local gun store. Next, Clark eliminated two unlucky bystanders who just happened to be in the parking lot when he emerged, fresh from the original murder.

Finally, Clark silenced a third witness who was unfortunate enough to have seen the first two get whacked. He at least had the presence of mind to run into his apartment and lock the door. But Menacing Dennis shot out the lock and then killed him in his own home.

Three innocent bystanders shot dead — after they called 911 — by a dood who wasn’t going to leave any witnesses to his girlfriend’s murder. The prohibitionists say this is why no one should have guns. I say this is exactly why everyone should.

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  1. The news story says 8 officers fired their weapons, and that the guy was killed while laying on the ground reaching for a handgun. How many shots do you think hit him?

    • I wonder if Bloomberg’s claim that the police can protect you and all you have to do is call 911 could be used as expert testimony in the inevitable civil suit against the police by the witnesses families. After all, the cops obviously should have gotten there in time to stop the guy from killing the witnesses to his original killing.

  2. I was wondering about this one; saw the early confused reports. Interesting that the suspect had a ccw permit—meaning he’d passed a background check. Probably several, as he had at least two firearms….But he didn’t have an eeevile black rifle. So what excuse will the banners come up with to ‘splain this one?

    • The local news report that I read on this was quick to point out that the shooter had a license to carry concealed. That detail sparked plenty of comments about how expanded background checks would have prevented this crime–and how people who carry concealed are time bombs, and why guns should be banned. And that’s exactly the reaction that the news station wanted from its Seattle readers/viewers.

    • They are saying his history includes several responses to calls for domestic violence, but that he was never charged through lack of evidence. Apparently they were not involving the woman he murdered, but an ex of some sort.

      • If the woman refuses to testify in a DV incident, the prosecutor doesn’t have much to work with.

        FYI: city hall (which doubles as Police HQ) is just over a mile from those apartments.

  3. You duck into your apartment call 911 and wait. Bad guy shoots away your door comes in a kills you. Unarmed and helpless is always such a good way to be.

  4. I understand this asshole had a concealed carry permit. I wonder if it was issued before or after his domestic violence call involvements. If it was issued after the domestic violence involvements, how is it that he passed the background check that qualified him to have such a permit? And if it was issued before, why was the permit not rescinded immediately? But, of course, in any event those domestic violence involvements may not have been actual convictions of domestic violence, but even so… Bottom line: I hate hear of an incident like this, because of the shadow of suspicion it tends to throw over all holders of concealed carry permits, who, because they have been vetted per the background check process, tend to be seen as being good guys. Every incident like this is more ammo for those pushing for total citizen disarmament.

    • The Seattle article indicates the two domestic violence calls were about verbal abuse, not physical, and no arrests were made. Translation: The callers wanted cops to come and discourage the guy, but didn’t want an arrest. Why not? Well, perhaps they thought he’d come back and shoot them if they pressed charges! When a person slides off into dangerousness, it is just so common that the closest people (family, ex-lovers) are afraid to say anything that leads to actual charges and convictions. In the mean time, ability to defend oneself becomes essential. Which is why we have the 2A.

      • domestic disputes are the most dangerous for police to respond to and it is usually the abused wife/girlfriend who shoots the cop. Abused women have a strange mental outlook and reactions and frequently don’t want their abusers to get arrested (due to sense of love/fear of the ass-whoopin they get after the guy gets out). I don’t fault her for not pressing for arrest.

        As far as the CCW holder turning bad. Just because the dood got a CCW doesn’t mean he cant do something evil. Just because a 16 yr-old can pass a driver’s test/exam and knows drinking & Driving is wrong, but they still do it.

        • UA, I’ve wondered is THAT why Tina Turner stayed with Ike, even though she was slapped around for something like 20 years?

  5. I live eastern Washington and can add a little here. Washington (state), as liberal as it is in some ways, is a “shall issue” CCW state. Pay your $52, pass the background check and you get your permit, renewable every five years. So, the fact that this guy had his CCW issued by his local police it means he didn’t have a mental health or criminal record that disqualified him.

    • Hallelujah man. I’ve been in Texas for a year and a half now and still havent gotten my CPL here because it takes about $200 for class, fingerprints, and fee and my WA state one is good here.

    • Yeah, Washington is awesome that way. Seattle resident here. Our gun laws are pretty sweet. There are a few things left to do (like getting the restrictions on SBRs/SBSs lifted) but for the most part they’re some of the best around.

    • Inflation alert!

      The first CCW that I ever had was in either Pearce or King county in the late ’70’s. At that time, the standards were pretty much the same, but the fee was only 5 or 6 dollars. I remember sheepishly walking into the sheriffs office to pick up my permit with my 1911 in a paper grocery bag. (I mistakenly assumed that the gun was registered, not the owner) What can I say…pre internet. The sheriff laughed and handed me my card. Then we talked at length about my WWI surplus 1911. It’s probably the best experience that I’ve ever had with law enforcement personnel.

      Moving back to AZ in 1982, I couldn’t get a CCW at all, as we had no legal provision. Since we now have constitutional carry, I’ll let it slide. I still open carry when I’ve a mind to, just to let the “blue” transplants know that we are not all liberal twits.

  6. Welcome to the school district in which I teach.

    It’s a terrible tragedy of people being in the wrong place, wrong time… not to mention another case of domestic violence escalated to terrible levels. A chilling reminder that 9-1-1 can’t save you every single time… better to be armed and have a sliver of a chance than no chance at all.

    A couple of years ago, about a mile away from my school, a father took his 2 sons to 7-11 to buy slurpees / treats. He got into a verbal argument with a wannabe gangsta who then shot him dead in the 7-11 parking lot… right in front of his 2 sons.

    Our school goes into lockdown at least 1-3 times year because of stuff like that.

  7. Doesn’t seem like a very smart guy. I mean – he kills his girl friend – who do you think the police is going to be focused on in her murder? I don’t know – perhaps the people close to the victim?

    Regardless, it is people’s responsibility to safeguard their freedom and their personal safety. It is not the government’s responsibility to “take care of us.”

    The victims that died perished because they took the risk of not being prepared and not being ready for this circumstance. Even if the guy that saw the murders had a gun in his home (not even on his person) he may be alive today.

  8. “The prohibitionists say this is why no one should have guns. I say this is exactly why everyone should.”

    And that IS the impasse. But only one side could realistically accomplish its goal.

  9. Washington State has been a “shall issue” state since 1961. There are over 400,000 active CPLs. Every now and then, a licensee commits a crime. It’s such a low percentage. I hope our opponents don’t take advantage of this anomaly.

    • Yeah, Right.

      Hold that thought until one of the usual rabid grabbers brings this event up to support confiscation, oops I mean gun control, at a media interview.

  10. I hope this isn’t insensitive … I wonder how many of the witnesses thought that something like that would never happen to them?

  11. Ok, well even if he had a license to carry… Do you think revoking that license would have stopped him?

    “oh no, they pulled my permit… Now I can’t carry the gun to my girlfriend’s apartment to murder her!”

    a few armed citizens, in the other hand, may have caused him to reconsider his plan.

  12. No one knows what Dennis was thinking when this all happened. NO ONE can say that his intention was to kill people.. Everyone involved is dead, quit assuming you all know. His prior DV was for verbal not physical, dont ya all read whats going on. .I am sorry he did what he did, apparently he had issues no one knew of so ya all quit assuming you know.

    • Nice cheerleading.

      “NO ONE can say that his intention was to kill people.”

      Right, because after he accidentally killed is girlfriend, he accidentally walked out into the parking lot and shot two more people, and then after some guy had the bad luck to see his most recent accident and ran, he accidentally shot the lock off that guy’s front door and then accidentally shot that guy as well. I’m sure it was all completely unintentional.

      “Everyone involved is dead…”

      And why is that? Because your boy shot them. No other reason.

      “His prior DV was for verbal not physical…”

      Because that makes it all better, right? You know what you can’t say about me or anyone else I know or associate with? What our “prior DV” is for. Because we don’t have them.

      “I am sorry he did what he did…”

      Are you? Seems like you’re much more concerned with protecting this dirtbag’s memory than giving two shits about the three complete strangers he killed simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      “…apparently he had issues no one knew of…”

      And we give a shit why? Everyone who reads this site has issues. Most of them nobody knows about. They don’t result in us killing our girlfriend in a fit of rage, nor killing a couple or three other people who happen to be nearby.

      This guy was a piece of shit scumbag, and if you want to feel sorry for people saying so after he’s gone, do it somewhere else.

    • Hey, Skullboy, with reference to your comment, “NO ONE can say that his intention was to kill people,” I’m here to tell you that I can say without hesitation that the intention of Dennis Clark III was to kill people. 1) He was in possession of a firearm; 2) He used that firearm to kill his girlfriend, a couple of people who happened to be in the parking lot when he came out of his girlfriend’s apartment, and, finally, a man who was unfortunate enough to have seen him whack the two parking lot bystanders. In the case of the last victim, Clark had to shoot his way into the victim’s apartment in order to accomplish the aim of shooting the man. Since a gun doesn’t discharge all by itself, and since pulling the trigger, except perhaps in the case of a negligent discharge, requires some conscious intent on the part of the trigger-puller, I have no difficulty, and see nothing wrong with, connecting the dots and saying that Dennis Clark III intended to kill the people he in fact killed, although his intention may have been spontaneous, formed right there on the spot.

  13. You’re incorrect in your story. First off, Mr. Clark and my daughter lived together. He did not go the the apartment complex intent on killing my daughter. Secondly, the other complaints against him were by two other women. Not my daughter. She ended up being shot, multiple times, by Mr. Clark. She died within seconds of being hit. When we finally went to their apartment, to retrieve Justine’s things, we found two boxes of amunition, a hunting knife as well as a samurai sword in the dining room. If Mr. Clark had not shot my daughter, he would have killed her with the knife or the sword. We will never know why Mr. Clark had to kill my daughter, why he did what he did. The answers died with them and the victims families are left to grieve and pick up the pieces.

    • Thanks for your input, and I’m sorry for your loss.

      It’s important that the story is told correctly, even though this is “just the internet.” It’s hard to justify the desire for blogs like this to be seen as “real journalism” when the basic elements of the story — like the fact that he lived there (he didn’t go there) or the fact that she was not the one who previously called police — are incorrect in the initial story and not corrected later.

  14. Susan, I am so sorry for your loss, but it seems to me that the only reason you can say Dennis Clark didn’t go to that apartment to kill your daughter, was that he, too, lived in that apartment, and so can be said to have gone there, not to kill her, but because it was his residence. On the other hand, you seem sure that if Mr Clark hadn’t had the gun, he would have killed your daughter some other way, which suggests that you believe he DID intend to kill your daugher by some means or another. Finally, may I ask whether or not you are aware of incidents during your daughter’s involvement with Mr. Clark, when she might have been justified in calling the police, but didn’t call? And were you yourself comfortable with your daughter’s relationship with Mr. Clark, or did you have some sense that it was likely to end badly?

    • In answer to your question…..(1) Justine and Dennis had lived together for around 3 years. They had moved to Federal Way in September, 2012. Justine had broke up with Dennis in January, but I believed she stayed there because both their names were on the lease. She had also mentioned, to my son, that she wanted to work on their friendship before she would start dating him again. (2) I had been told, by my son in March, that they broke up. However, she denied this when I asked her about it. She just didn’t want me, or my husband, to know about it. (3) When visiting California, back in 2011, family saw her with a black eye and bruises. When asked about it, she said that he accidentally kneed her. (4) Personally, I didn’t like the way he would talk to her at times. Speaking to her like she was stupid and he was superior. He would call her, and keep calling her, until she answered the phone when she was visiting us or when her and I were doing something together. Once, when Justine and I were riding in my car, he said something to her and she hung up. He then started calling me over and over and over again. I finally asked her to turn my phone off. When he finally saw me, I asked him if he was crazy. Another time, he came over and just walked into the house. Didn’t knock or anything. Then, he got upset with me when I told him that he needs to knock first rather than just walking in. “I thought I was family?” was his response. (5) As far as my comments about the knife/sword…..according to the police, he was completely out of his mind after he killed Bradley and Ceasar in the parking lot. They had indicated that he would have probably killed more people after he killed Mr. Scobee. We are awaiting the final report/toxicology report to find out of Dennis was high from cocaine or something which caused him to snap. (6) If we would have tried to get Justine out of the relationship, that may have caused her to distance herself from us. I kept asking her if everything was okay (she had made some comments, on Facebook, and had changed her marital status from “married” to “single”). Her answer was always the same. “Yes, mom, I’m fine. Nothing to worry about.” She was the typical “battered wife”. (7) Had we known then, what we know now (“we” being family and friends), we would have gotten her out of there. But you never know…if she would have left him, and moved in with us, he may have gotten so upset/angry that he might have came to our home and killed Justine/me/my husband/my son/my 4 year old grandson. As I mentioned, the answers died with them and my family is left to plan Justine’s memorial service.

      • It seems, Susan, that you did have misgivings about Mr. Clark and his relationship with your daughter, Justine. I am so sorry that Justine was unable to extricate herself safely from the relationship, but also thankful that the ending of the relationship was not more tragic — as you recognize, Mr. Clark, who sounds like one of those men who is determined to be lord and master of whatever woman he might be involved with, and who is likely to respond very poorly to any behavior, however trivial, on the part of said woman that suggests that he is not in fact her lord and master, did not indeed come over and kill you and anyone else he thought might be trying, however obliquely, to modify your daughter’s relationship with him. I can only hope that whatever you believe about “what it all means” is a source of comfort to you as you cope with what is likely to have been a crushing loss.


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