By Sarah Brenden
King County prosecutors charged a 20-year-old Maple Valley man with first-degree assault for shooting and injuring a Kent man after a dispute on the basketball court at the LA Fitness in Fairwood.
Jhalante Tahyre Smith turned himself in to King County Sheriff’s Office detectives Tuesday after reportedly shooting Mathew Mirante, 21, in the arm Monday at the club’s parking lot, 14060 SE Petrovitsky Road.
Smith is being held on $200,000 bail at the county jail at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. He is scheduled to be arraigned on June 2 at King County Superior Court in Kent.
According to the charging documents, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dana Cashman wrote when requesting Smith’s bail that “the defendant is likely to commit another act of violence given the facts here and is not likely to appear in response to a summons.”
Cashman added “the defendant is homeless and unemployed.”
Smith has no prior convictions, the documents stated, but Cashman said “(he) is clearly a danger to the community if he is released.”
Multiple witnesses told deputies Monday they saw the suspect running from the scene shortly after the shooting occurred. During their investigation, detectives learned the two had a disagreement while inside the gym.
Mirante told investigators that Smith joined in on a basketball game when he and another gym member got into an argument. Mirante said he tried to split up the argument which led him and Smith to argue.
Mirante said he left the gym but returned for his basketball. That is when Smith reportedly followed Mirante and his friends outside.
After Mirante was shot, he tried to run away from Smith but fell. Smith approached him while he was laying on the ground and reportedly pointed his gun at his chest.
Once outside, the suspect allegedly followed Mirante to his vehicle where they verbally argued. That is when Smith pulled out a gun and shot one round at the victim, hitting him in the arm.
“Detectives believe that the suspect attempted to fire more rounds but the gun jammed for unknown reasons,” Sgt. Jason Houck, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, wrote in a press release.
Charging documents stated Smith attempted to shoot Mirante two additional times.
On Monday, following the shooting, deputies along with K-9 units searched the area around the gym and shopping center for the suspect but were unable to locate him.
Houck said detectives received a phone call Tuesday from Smith’s attorney that the suspect wanted to turn himself in.
Detectives met the attorney and Smith near the scene of the shooting later that day. Smith did not provide a statement but he did lead them to a backpack with a gun inside. According to the charging documents, the backpack was left near the edge of a trail alongside Southeast Petrovitsky Road.
It is believed that he hid it there after fleeing the scene Monday, Houck said.
Mirante was released from Valley Medical Center in Renton and is recovering. Mirante was treated for a gunshot wound to his left bicep.