Part of this week's feature story on Latino gangs in King County focuses on the chaotic shootout in July at a rap concert and lowrider car show in Kent that left 12 people wounded. After a months-long manhunt, last month police arrested six members of the Playboy Sureños 13 gang that are allegedly responsible for inciting the melee. It may have taken the authorities a while to finally round up their suspects, but, according to court documents, at least one of the men made it easy for detectives to figure out he was involved. In fact, he actually called 911 on the night of the shooting to demand that police return some confiscated pistols.
According to the court documents, at around 10:45 p.m. on July 23, 30-year-old Tacoma resident Patrick Auble dialed 911 and stated that he had "information" about the shooting that occurred earlier that day at La Plaza strip mall on Pacific Highway South. He asked to speak to a detective. Then he hung up. Five minutes later, Auble called back and gave the dispatcher an address in Auburn where they could find him. He also mentioned that he knew where one of the cars driven by the shooters was located, and where to find one of the handguns involved. In exchange for this information, Auble asked that police release his younger brother Shea, who had been picked up earlier that night.
A few minutes later, Kent police detective Philip Johnson writes, Auble called 911 "yet again" to say that he was still waiting to hear from a detective. He went a step further this time, saying he knew the names and whereabouts of the shooters, as well as where to find the cars and guns involved. Then he said if his brother wasn't out of jail soon, "things will disappear." He called again the next day, making the same demands and threats.
Kent police finally had enough of the nonsense and looked up Auble and his brother in their system. It turned out that King County Sheriff's deputies had been dispatched to their house a few hours before the first 911 call was made on July 23. The deputies reportedly found Shea Auble, 21, and another member of the Playboy Sureños shooting guns in the street. The deputies arrested Shea, confiscating two 9mm pistols, a .40 caliber pistol, and a .223 caliber rifle. Police interrogated the younger Auble, who divulged several key details about the car show shootout. Then they contacted Patrick.
The aftermath of the shootout at the La Plaza strip mall in Kent. Twelve people were wounded, including a 14-year-old boy.
Criminal mastermind that he is, this time Patrick demanded that police not only release his brother, but also hand over the confiscated weapons. In exchange, he offered to give police three pistols that had been used in the car show violence. He boasted that he knew all about the fracas, and that he even parked one of the getaway cars in his parent's garage. That car, a teal Oldsmobile with chrome spoke rims, had a .380 pistol in the trunk, which Auble said he stashed in a safe somewhere.
Police pulled the Auble brothers' cell phone records and figured out that they had been talking to each other and their fellow Playboy gang members both before and after the car show, allegedly planning ahead of time to attack their rivals in the Varrio Locos and Little Valley Lokotes gangs.
The detectives also listened to jailhouse phone calls Shea made to Patrick, in which the latter could be heard complaining about how police were "playing their games" with him and not meeting his demands.
Nicholas Moreno and Ignacio Trevino-Vasquez, two Playboy Sureños members charged in the car show melee.
After the jail phone call on July 26, Patrick again called Kent detectives and demanded that his brother be released and the (unlicensed) firearms returned. "You better call your prosecutor friend," he allegedly threatened the detective, "because if my brother gets filed on tomorrow and I have to bail him out, that gun [used in the shooting] is going to disappear."
Alas, the authorities were unmoved and they charged Shea despite his brother's best efforts. Patrick bailed him out the next day. Both were arrested September 14 and charged with "rendering criminal assistance," a felony. They have both pleaded not guilty.
"It's just one of those things," Kent police spokesman Lt. Pat Lowery says when asked about Auble's failed gun swap scheme. "You think about his state of mind, he thinks he's got something we want and he thinks it gives him a big leg up on everybody else. But that just didn't happen for him." Kent Car Show Charges