SeaTac man could face three murder charges in Des Moines shooting

Joshua Puloka reportedly fired shots that killed two men, one woman Sept. 26 outside bar

Joshua Puloka. COURTESY PHOTO, Des Moines Police

Joshua Puloka. COURTESY PHOTO, Des Moines Police

A SeaTac man could face three charges of second-degree murder for the shooting Sept. 26 outside of a Des Moines bar.

Joshua Puloka, 44, aka Joshua Everybodytalksabout, made his first court appearance Tuesday, Oct. 26. A judge found probable cause to hold Puloka in custody and set bail at $1 million, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Puloka is scheduled to return to court Oct. 28 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

The shooting victims were Ezra Taylor, 26; Antoine Matthews, 32; and Angelia Hylton, 46. As many as 31 shots were fired during the dispute. Three other people were injured by gunfire.

Puloka, who turned himself in Oct. 25 and was arrested by Des Moines Police, is the same man that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged with second-degree murder in 2014 in a shooting outside of a Georgetown motorcycle club in Seattle. He also was charged in that incident with second-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

A jury acquitted Puloka on the murder charge, according to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He was found guilty by the jury of third-degree assault and he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm. Puloka received a sentence of just over four years in 2018, but with credit for time served prior to the trial he was released in 2018.

Puloka was released in June 2018 from the state Department of Corrections, according to an email from the DOC Correspondence Unit. He did not have court ordered supervision upon his release.

In the Des Moines shooting at the La Familia Sports Pub, 22855 Pacific Highway S., a dispute inside the bar spilled outside and led to fights in the parking lot and the shootings, according to probable cause documents. Police did not release any information about what caused the dispute.

Video surveillance from the bar and cellphone video obtained by detectives led police to suspect Puloka in the shooting.

A group of people, including Puloka, ended up in the street. Matthews reportedly punched Puloka, who falls backward onto the ground. Almost immediately as he falls, Puloka begins shooting, according to probable cause documents.

Matthews and another man start to run away as Puloka continues firing in the direction of the parking lot, where other people were struck by the shots. Puloka then jumped on his motorcycle and fled, firing more shots. Police said it does not appear anyone else was struck by the second round of gunfire.

Puloka was wearing a “Rare Breed” motorcycle vest that helped detectives identify him.

Des Moines Police recovered 31 cartridge casings from the scene. Ten 9mm casings were recovered from the street in the area where Puloka was seen shooting. Six .45 caliber casings were recovered from the sidewalk just south of the bar. Fourteen 9mm casings were recovered from the parking lot and sidewalk near the Walgreens drug store, south of the bar.

The Washington State Patrol crime lab and a forensic scientist concluded all the rounds recovered from the three victims were from the same 9mm Luger firearm.

Puloka has a long criminal history, including shooting a man in the leg outside a Rainier Valley store in February 1999, according to the Seattle Times. He pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and spent nine months in prison.

Puloka fatally shot a man in March 1999 in Tukwila, but wasn’t charged with second-degree murder until 2002, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in 2003 and was released from prison in 2009.

As of Tuesday, Des Moines Police were still looking to arrest Damarcus Simmons, 32, who they want for felony assault. Simmons and another man were reportedly having an aggressive conversation in the bar parking lot. When the other man turned around, Simmons reportedly punched him from behind and knocked him to the ground. He then punched the man in the face seven to eight times and kicked him in the face three times.

A group of several males began to confront Simmons, which led to the fight in the street.

When officers arrived, Matthews was found on the ground with gunshot wounds in the HOV lane of Pacific Highway South. Paramedics attempted life-saving efforts, but he died at Fire Station 67 in Des Moines where he had been taken due to the crowd for further treatment.

Taylor was discovered in the parking lot of the bar with a gunshot wound to his head. Paramedics transported Taylor to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He died during surgery.

Hylton also sustained a gunshot wound. She was loaded into a passing vehicle prior to first responders arriving. She was taken to Valley Medical Center in Renton, where she died during surgery.

A 48-year-old man was found in the lobby of the nearby Red Lion Hotel. He had a gunshot wound to the upper body and was treated at Harborview. A 27-year-old man had a gunshot wound to the groin and also received treatment at Harborview. A 33-year-old woman was driven to Harborview with a gunshot wound to her leg. Another man in the parking lot suffered facial fractures and was treated at Harborview.

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