A former employee of a Seattle shipyard has been arrested in the shooting rampage that left two people dead and set off a two-month-long manhunt here, police said Wednesday.
Kevin Cruz, a 30-year-old with a history of run-ins with the law, was arrested at his home late Tuesday. Authorities traced him to a backpack containing the gun that was found this week in a blackberry thicket not far from the Northlake Shipyard.
Killed in the Nov. 3 attack were bookkeeper Peter Giles, 27, who had worked there for 15 years, and marine engineer Russell Brisendine, 43. Two other men were injured.
Co-workers did not recognize Cruz, but witnesses say the suspect in the attack wore sunglasses and a camouflage jacket and had a beard.
“Preliminary indications are the shooting was a workplace violence incident,” Seattle police spokesman Clem Benton said Wednesday. "[Cruz] has been a person of interest since early [on] and will be booked for investigation of murder.”
Tim Bradshaw, senior King County deputy prosecutor, said the gun found in the backpack and casings found at the shooting scene are “a unique match . . . the undisputed conclusion is that this is the weapon.”
Cruz has admitted that he is the owner of the backpack, Bradshaw told the court. But deputy public defender Lorrain Roberts said police had not established a sufficient case to make an arrest. “There is no connection between the client and this particular case,” she said.
Prosecutors said they would file formal charges later this week. King County Superior Court Judge Mark Chow, citing Cruz’s history of arrests, ordered him held on $4-million bail.
Skye Moody, Giles’ aunt, said her nephew had mentioned Cruz, but she did not elaborate.
“We all want to know why,” she said. “I don’t feel assured that all the pieces are in place. . . . My family will be relieved if this is the beginning of the end, but we will never get over the loss.”
Mike Shimizu, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor, said that Cruz had filed a claim for a work injury under the federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. The benefits were paid by the company’s private insurance firm but were subsequently terminated, he said.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that Cruz’s benefits were cut off after a videotape showed he was not hurt. Shimizu said he had no record of the investigation.
A Northlake Shipyard official declined to comment Wednesday, and neighbors of Cruz said they did not know of any dispute with a former employer.
“The guy was kind of a loner. He came and went at all times, lived with his mother. The guy across the street and I commented that we thought he was just a guy leeching off his mom,” said Jay Arcarese, a salesman who lives several doors down from the small house the Cruzes shared in the suburban community of SeaTac.
“He didn’t seem to bother anybody. He was nice enough, he’d wave back if you waved at him, but we never really talked to him,” Arcarese said.
According to court records, Cruz had a long history of criminal convictions on charges including domestic violence, assault, violating a no-contact order, felony hit and run, unlawful possession of a firearm and motorcycle theft.
Police cordoned off an entire neighborhood near the shipyard and conducted a massive search in the days after the shootings. They had more than 1,000 tips and leads, but the suspect’s trail appeared to have grown cold--until Sunday, when a bicyclist found the backpack containing a gun, toiletry items and a camouflage jacket at a park near the scene of the shootings.
Police speculated that heavier brush earlier in the season may have prevented them from finding the evidence.