Avery Wilcox, along with three of his family members, each drove to the Dollar Store parking lot on the night of March 21 to wait for Kent Police to provide a civil standby as they planned to collect his possessions from a nearby apartment after a recent breakup with his girlfriend.
But as they waited with the vehicles of Wilcox, his mother, stepfather and brother parked side by side at 10432 SE Kent Kangley Road, a silver Dodge Magnum pulled into the parking lot and next to Wilcox’s Chevy Tahoe.
In just moments, the driver of the Dodge Magnum reportedly fired 14 shots at the driver’s side door of Wilcox’s vehicle as he sat in his driver’s seat. When officers arrived at about 10:11 p.m. in response to 911 calls, they found Wilcox laying across the front passenger seat with a gunshot wound to his head. Paramedics transported Wilcox to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he was pronounced dead.
Wilcox, 27, of Tukwila, died from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Anthony Dexter Ford, 35, with no known permanent address, has been charged with first-degree murder and second-degree assault for the fatal shooting of Wilcox and firing a bullet that hit a vehicle driven by Wilcox’s mother.
Ford pleaded not guilty to the charges, which also includes second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, on June 23, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Ford remains in custody at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent with bail set at $3 million. He is scheduled to return to court July 21 when a trial date could be set or attorneys could ask for more time to prepare the case.
“Without provocation, the defendant executed the unarmed victim while peacefully waiting a civil standby to move his belongings,” wrote Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Donald Raz in the charging papers. “The defendant’s shots, although directed toward the victim, endangered others present in the public parking lot. Other victims could have easily been injured or killed.”
Kent Police arrested Ford on June 22 at an apartment complex in Auburn where his girlfriend lived. The Valley SWAT unit took him into custody without incident. Charging papers were filed June 9 when Ford was at large.
Detectives discovered that Ford is a cousin of Wilcox’s former girlfriend. Ford and Wilcox had been on bad terms for several years, according to court documents.
Relatives of Wilcox knew that Ford drove a Dodge Magnum. Detectives also learned where Ford’s girlfriend lived in Auburn and discovered she had a 2005 Dodge Magnum registered in her name with the state Department of Licensing and listed on the apartment lease.
Video surveillance footage from the Auburn apartment complex showed a Dodge Magnum leaving at about 9:59 p.m. on March 21, about 11 minutes before the killing in Kent. Police determined that the apartment complex is about 11 minutes from the Dollar Store parking lot.
On April 4, police found the girlfriend’s Dodge Magnum parked in the area of 3400 South Juneau Street in Seattle. Detectives found a bullet had been removed from the driver’s side quarter panel. They found 10 brass spent cartridge casings lying on the front windshield under the hood cowling. The casings matched casings found at the murder scene, according to court documents.
Police also used cellphone records from cell towers that put Ford in the area of the Auburn apartment and the Kent Dollar Store the night of March 21.
A Kent Police Department surveillance camera at the intersection of 132nd Avenue Southeast and SE Kent Kangley Road recorded a Dodge Magnum heading south through the intersection at about 10:19 p.m. March 21. By 10:22 p.m., Ford’s cellphone connected with a cell tower that provides service to his girlfriend’s apartment in Auburn.
Ford faces an assault charge because one of the bullets he reportedly fired struck the vehicle where Wilcox’s mother sat. The bullet had passed through the driver’s and passenger side windows of Wilcox’s Tahoe and then struck the driver’s side window of his mother’s car.
His mother was sprayed with glass from the shattering window and feared that she had been shot.
The stepfather of Wilcox also sat in that car. He jumped out of the passenger seat, pulled out his lawfully owned 9mm handgun and fired at the Dodge Magnum as it sped away out of the parking lot. Wilcox’s family members then called 911.
Examination of Wilcox’s Tahoe found its driver’s side door and window had been struck by 14 bullets, most of which passed through the vehicle’s passenger compartment.
Wilcox worked as a barber at Nine Thousand Hair Studio in Tukwila, according to Facebook posts by Wilcox and his friends. Wilcox referred to himself as Mr. Barber on his Facebook page. Wilcox played football at Foster High School in Tukwila and graduated in 2012, according to maxpreps.com.
Ford’s criminal record includes taking a motor vehicle without permission in 2020, first-degree theft in 2015, unlawful possession of a firearm in 2015 and 2008 and intimidating a witness in 2006.
If found guilty as charged, Ford could face a minimum sentence of 30 years and looks at standard range including enhancements of over 40 to 50 years in prison, according to court documents.