Kent man to face murder charge for shooting Jered Sperling

Allegedly stole pickup, shot victim who tried to stop theft of his vehicle

Jered Sperling/Courtesy Photo

Jered Sperling/Courtesy Photo

A 23-year-old Kent man is expected to be charged with second-degree murder, theft of a motor vehicle and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm for allegedly shooting Jered Sperling after carjacking his pickup on Monday night in Kent.

Gurkeerat Kainth had an initial appearance on Thursday afternoon in King County Superior Court when prosecutors filed probable cause documents. He remains in the King County Correctional Facility in Seattle with bail set at $1 million. He is scheduled to return to court on Friday in Seattle.

Kent Police arrested Kainth at about 11 p.m. Tuesday at an apartment in the 23400 block of 104th Avenue Southeast after tips from witnesses and video surveillance from the public storage complex where Kainth reportedly carjacked Sperling’s pickup truck.

According to probable cause documents, Kainth and another man were walking eastbound in front of the Kent East Hill Storage, 10625 SE 240th St., when they saw a GMC Denali pickup that Sperling, 38, had parked in front of the gate to the storage facility that he manages with his wife.

Sperling left the vehicle running as he stood a few feet away speaking with some customers. Kainth walked over to the open driver’s door, jumped in and began to back up. Sperling saw his truck being stolen and grabbed on to the side of the truck bed as Kainth drove eastbound. The vehicle was last seen traveling eastbound at excessive speeds.

Cynthia Sperling, the wife of Jered Sperling, reported the vehicle theft and her husband’s kidnapping to police. Officers conducted area checks but were unable to find the pickup.

Police used video surveillance photos from the storage facility to release images on Tuesday to the public of two men walking near the complex. Multiple people called to identify the men as Kainth and Troy Vasquez, who turned out to be a witness to the carjacking but didn’t participate in the crime, according to police.

Around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, a witness called 911 to report an unresponsive male covered in blood in the back of a pickup parked at the Cascade Apartments, 20402 106th Ave. SE. Sperling was identified as the dead man and had suffered a gunshot wound.

Police contacted Vasquez, who acknowledged he saw Kainth steal the pickup and a man clinging to the side of the truck as Kainth drove away recklessly, likely in an effort to throw Sperling from the vehicle. Vasquez told detectives he had seen Kainth with a handgun two days prior to the carjacking.

Detectives tracked down Kainth at an apartment on the East Hill and found him with several other people. Officers took Kainth into custody. A witness at the home reported to police that Kainth had arrived there out of breath the night before. Kainth reportedly told him that he had stolen a truck and killed the owner.

During a post Miranda interview, Kainth allegedly told detectives that he had stolen the truck and that he had been high on narcotics. He claimed he found a gun in Sperling’s center console of the truck and shot him before dumping the pickup at the Cascade Apartments. Kainth also told detectives he was suicidal and addicted to narcotics.

Kainth has two prior felony convictions for possession of a stolen vehicle and a current case for possession of a stolen vehicle.

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