Seattle man charged with murder after allegedly chasing down and shooting suspected car thieves

file: police lights at night
file: police lights at night(File image - Pixabay)
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:06 AM PDT
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SEATTLE (KPTV) - A Seattle man has been arrested and charged with murder by Seattle Police on suspicion of chasing and shooting two alleged car thieves, one of whom was killed.

Aaron J. Mitchell, 45, is accused by the prosecution of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder after the incident on October 7, 2022.

At 4:30 a.m., two men—27-year-old Joshua Blackwood and a 53-year-old man—were driving a white tow truck and looking for cars to steal near 11th Avenue and East Fir Street where they noticed a black Tahoe parked, according to court documents obtained by FOX 13 Seattle.

After stopping, Blackwood reportedly tried to start the Tahoe multiple times but was unsuccessful while the 53-year-old remained in the truck. Blackwood searched up ways to bypass the kill switch but it did not work. Blackwood attempted to start the Tahoe several more times but failed.

They left the area but ended up circling back around, when they saw a man standing by the Tahoe—who court docs identify as Mitchell—who got in a nearby black sedan and followed them.

Mitchell drove after them and fired at them several times with a handgun. At one point, the tow truck was disabled by gunfire, and Mitchell got out, walked up to them and asked, “You guys are stealing from me?” He then reportedly pulled a gun on them, and the two men tried to drive off, according to the court documents.

Mitchell allegedly drove after them, then pulled alongside the tow truck and started shooting at them.

Both men were hit by gunfire and tried to escape by driving through neighborhoods in the Yesler Terrace area. They neared the 53-year-old’s apartment, and went into a nearby alley, but the truck got hung up on some cinderblocks. The 53-year-old told police he immediately got out and ran, and believes he was hit by a bullet as he ran.

Another witness to the incident said Mitchell walked up to the tow truck window and shot into it. Blackwood was killed in the encounter, and an autopsy revealed significant blunt force trauma, suggesting Mitchell pistol-whipped him several times around the time of the shooting.

The court filings alleged that after the incident, Mitchell took “extraordinary steps” to evade capture by police—torching his girlfriend’s car, never returning to his apartment after a search warrant was executed, granting power of attorney to his girlfriend to clean out the apartment in his absence, and not returning to work.

Law enforcement says they could only track down Mitchell’s location by pinging his girlfriend’s cell phone, which led them to her home in Federal Way.

Prosecutors have asked for Mitchell to be held on $3 million bail, citing a risk to community safety.