Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO

Second-degree murder trial pending for Federal Way man

Case is related to the 2021 robbery of a cannabis shop in Renton.

Federal Way resident Michael Leemoui still awaits trial for charges of second-degree murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm related to the robbery of a cannabis shop in Renton.

A brief filed on May 28 indicates he may soon stand trial at King County Superior Court despite an order for a continuance filed on May 29 to delay the trial date.

According to charging documents, Leemoui was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm because he was not lawfully allowed to carry a firearm following his previous felony convictions in Washington of assault in the third degree and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.

According to charging documents, on March 1, 2021, while working security for Buddy’s Cannabis, Leemoui shot and killed 17-year-old Antonio Garcia-Fonseca after chasing a group of teens who robbed a man who had visited the shop.

According to charging documents, the shooting occurred after a male who had just visited Buddy’s Cannabis was walking under the Highway 405 bridge at about 7:30 p.m., and a group of four teenagers robbed the male at gunpoint, but did not shoot him. The male was robbed for various items, including his mobile phone. Following the robbery, the teenagers fled on foot.

Leemoui, who was on break while working security at Buddy’s Cannabis, was in the parking lot when the male who was robbed came back to the store’s parking lot and yelled for help. The male who was robbed then pointed at a group of teenagers running westbound away from the shop and indicated that they had robbed him. The male who was robbed then went inside the shop and made a call to 911 at about 7:31 p.m.

A witness was waiting in line to enter Buddy’s Cannabis when he saw Leemoui trying to get his sedan out of the parking lot and assumed he was going to chase the teens. That witness, who did not know Leemoui but recognized him as security, then approached Leemoui and asked him if he needed help, to which Leemoui asked him “Are you strapped?” The witness entered Leemoui’s vehicle while Leemoui put on a ballistic vest.

Leemoui then chased the teenagers in his vehicle and apprehended two of the teenagers at a nearby alleyway between Factory Avenue North and Meadow Avenue North in Renton. According to the witness, Leemoui was in the center of the road in his vehicle on North 4th Street with his driver side window facing the alleyway. Leemoui then pointed his Glock pistol at the two teenagers in the alley running away from Leemoui, according to the witness.

The witness said that Leemoui yelled, “Don’t run, or I’ll shoot.” The witness said he then heard two gunshots and saw one of the teens lying in the street, according to charging documents.

The witness said he thought they were going to stop and check on the person who was shot, but they instead drove away, and Leemoui said, “This didn’t happen.” They then drove back to Buddy’s Cannabis, and when they arrived, Leemoui said, “I forgot about the bullet.” Leemoui then asked the witness if they could drive away in his car, to which the witness said he refused and got out of Leemoui’s vehicle. Leemoui then drove away.

At 7:39 p.m., a witness called 911 saying they had heard gunshots and saw a body next to a dumpster in the alley between Factory Aveenue North and Meadow Avenue North. Officers responded and found Garcia-Fonseca deceased with a gunshot wound to the head. They also located .40mm bullet casings on 4th Street, facing the alleyway. On Garcia-Fonseca’s person, they found the mobile phone belonging to the robbed man.

At 11:22 p.m., Leemoui drove back to the Buddy’s Cannabis parking lot in his white sedan. He said he had driven off with a customer to find the robbers, but after not seeing anyone, he returned to Buddy’s Cannabis. Leemoui said he then drove back to 4th Street by himself, but when he saw police cars, he drove back to Buddy’s Cannabis.

The witness returned to the scene and confirmed that Leemoui was the one he had seen shoot Garcia-Fonseca. Leemoui was then taken into custody and said he wished to have an attorney before saying anything more.

According to the charging documents, investigators obtained security footage from Buddy’s Cannabis that did not corroborate what Leemoui told officers. In the video, investigators identified Leemoui putting on a bulletproof vest while holding a gun. In the footage, Leemoui and the witness leave the parking lot and return two minutes later. The footage shows Leemoui leaving again after the witness leaves his vehicle.

Investigators then obtained a search warrant for Leemoui’s sedan and found a Glock .40 mm pistol in his glove box. A test fire was conducted of the recovered Glock handgun. A comparison was conducted by NIBN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) from that test fire to the casings recovered at the homicide scene. NIBN provided a preliminary match between the two, according to the charging documents.

Leemoui has been at Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent since March 1, 2021, awaiting trial with a $2 million bail.

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