The man accused of shooting a 68-year-old in the head along SR 16 in Gorst initially faced a first-degree assault charge.
GORST, Wash — The man accused of shooting another man in the head during a road rage incident in Kitsap County on July 24 now faces a charge of second-degree murder following the victim’s death.
The victim, identified as 68-year-old Patrick Weems of University Place, died Tuesday evening, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Mark Smith, a 26-year-old Burien resident, was initially charged with first-degree assault, prior to the victim’s death. Smith remains in Kitsap County Jail on $1 million bail and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On July 24, Washington state troopers were advised of a shooting on eastbound state Route 16 in front of Custom Hearth Fireplaces and Stove. The first trooper on scene found Weems on the ground.
Weems was sent to the hospital in critical condition, where he later died.
Witnesses to the shooting said a Toyota 4Runner and Chrysler pulled over to the shoulder of the road. Both drivers exited their vehicles and a confrontation ensued. The driver of the 4Runner shot at the driver of the Chrysler and then drove away, witnesses said.
A description of the vehicle was provided.
A county roads inspector later saw the vehicle pulling out of Kodiak Place onto Lake Flora, according to a police report. Bremerton police were in the area and stopped the vehicle on Lake Flora, just south of state Route 3.
Other officers later found a tire, a shredded white sticker previously seen on the back of the 4Runner, a pistol magazine, backpack and Beretta 9mm pistol.
The 26-year-old suspect, later identified as Mark Keith Smith, was taken to Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office to be interviewed.
During the interview, Smith said he was driving on southbound Interstate 5 and his exit was approaching. As he attempted to get over, he pulled behind the victim’s vehicle, who then flipped the suspect off, Smith told law enforcement.
Both drivers exited to state Route 16 and the road rage incident continued.
Smith said the victim tried to run him off the road multiple times, according to a police report.
After they entered Gorst, the victim made a U-turn to get onto eastbound state Route 16 and Smith followed.
The two pulled over to the shoulder, Smith told police.
Smith said they both exited their vehicles. The victim had a bat and Smith had his gun. Smith said the victim began walking toward the truck of his own car; the suspect believed he was going for a gun.
According to Smith, the victim said “You are going to kill me,” to which Smith said he was not and just wanted to talk.
Smith said the victim advanced and tried to grab for his gun while it was in his pocket.
Smith stated “in self-defense, he grabbed his gun and swung it around to prevent (the victim) from getting it and must have had his finger on the trigger because the gun went off,” a police report reads.
Smith told law enforcement he fled and took backroads because he was scared.
A trooper later saw cellphone video showing Smith and Weems standing “toe to toe” as they argued.
In the video, according to a police report, Smith reaches toward his pocket, pulls out a gun and points it at the Weems’ head.
Weems grabbed Smith’s arm to push the gun away. Smith pulls the gun back to the right, pointing it directly at the victim’s head and fires a round.