Federal Way man found not guilty in shooting of newspaper delivery man

Jury found McLaughlin acted in self defense.

A Federal Way man charged with first-degree assault after shooting a newspaper delivery driver five times was found not guilty.

According to prosecutors, then-30-year-old Daniel Morgan McLaughlin allegedly shot the unarmed victim — 39-year-old Travis Zimmerman — after following him as he delivered newspapers in the Twin Lakes area at approximately 3 a.m. May 25, 2019, in the 31600 block of 37th Ave. SW.

On March 5, 2020, a jury found McLaughlin not guilty.

The Mirror previously reported the unarmed newspaper delivery man, Zimmerman, noticed McLaughlin following him and had attempted to block the man’s car. Zimmerman walked over to McLaughlin with a newspaper in hand, and “the defendant [McLaughlin], without a word to the victim, pulled his gun out and pointed at the victim’s face and fired … the victim was shocked and turned and ran away.”

According to charging documents, as Zimmerman ran, McLaughlin allegedly continued to fire, shooting the victim at close range in his back, lower abdomen, buttocks and legs.

During a subsequent interview with McLaughlin, he confessed to his involvement in the incident. He told police he “should have contacted you guys earlier,” according to charging documents. He also told police that Zimmerman was following him.

McLaughlin said he was driving around in the neighborhood when a man started yelling at him and followed him. He said he crossed paths with Zimmerman, who accused McLaughlin of following him, exited his vehicle and walked towards McLaughlin’s vehicle. He said Zimmerman tried to open his door and pull him out of his truck, so McLaughlin took his pistol out, fired three rounds then quickly drove away.

According to court documents, no fingerprints were found on or in McLaughlin’s vehicle.

However, McLaughlin said he acted out of self-defense in a road rage incident. McLaughlin also told the Mirror he has no prior criminal record or mental health issues.

“I have never used heroin or opiates. At the time of the incident I had a prescription for Oxycodone after recent hip surgery,” he said. “I don’t know how this information became part of the case as I had stopped taking it prior to the incident.”

Crime scene photo shows the Nissan Versa driven by Travis Zimmerman, a newspaper carrier who was shot by Daniel McLaughlin in May 2019. Courtesy of King County Superior Court.