Suspect who bailed out on Twisp murder flees
Originally published September 15, 2009 at 2:21 p.m., updated September 16, 2009 at 11:12 a.m.
OKANOGAN — A Seattle man charged with first-degree murder in a July shooting at a Twisp motel has fled and is sought by police nationwide on a no-bail warrant.
Kino Michael Gomez, 51, wrote his family a “goodbye” letter, telling them he was taking a “one-way trip to the mountains.”
He is charged in the shooting death of Tom Pfaeffle, 49, a well-known recording studio artist in Black Diamond and an instructor at the Art Institute of Seattle.
The letter — an exhibit in Prosecutor Karl Sloan’s request for an arrest warrant in Okanogan County Superior Court on Monday — states Gomez believes he’s already been condemned by society, and would rather be dead than lose his freedom and his gun rights.
“The media, the bloggers, the police, the justice system, none of whom witnessed the alleged crime, already hung me. ... Well, just for spite, I shall deprive society of the circus it so bloody craves — the bearded lady quit!” his letter states.
Twisp Police Chief Rick Balam said law enforcement agencies across the country have been notified, and are warned that he could be armed and violent. Gomez’s letter says he took his guns, and adds, “It will be quick and painless. Let no one get in my way — I will not be very kind. Despair has now changed to anger.”
He also apologizes to his family for the embarrassment and financial burden.
Sloan’s request for a warrant states he was notified Monday by Gomez’s defense lawyer, Michael Haas, that Gomez had sent a letter to family members indicating he planned to commit suicide, and Haas believed the threats were credible. Superior Court Judge Jack Burchard approved Monday the warrant, which revokes Gomez’s pretrial release.
It is a “no knock” warrant, meaning police may enter a building without knocking or announcing their presence if they believe he’s inside.
Gomez was released from the Okanogan County Jail on July 30 after spending nearly two weeks in jail. His family paid the full $100,000 bail. Prosecutors had sought a $500,000 bail, according to the request for a warrant.
He was scheduled to attend his next hearing in Okanogan County Superior Court on Thursday.
“We have no idea at all where he is,” Balam said.
Gomez was arrested on Aug. 14 at the Blue Spruce Motel in Twisp after Pfaeffle, another guest, was shot outside his room.
Police say Tom Pfaeffle had just checked in to the Blue Spruce Motel at about 10:45 p.m. He had a room key for Room 8, but he was mistakenly trying his key in Room 7 when Gomez fired a .40-caliber Glock 27 handgun through the door. Pfaeffle was hit once on his right side, just below his armpit, according to Balam. He died two hours later at Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak.
Two other shots were fired, including one that went into the neighboring room, where another guest was in bed. The man was not hurt, although the lead from the bullet landed next to him on the bed, a police report said.
The report by Twisp Police Officer Ty Sheehan filed with the charges also stated Gomez talked to police the night of the shooting, telling them that he did not do anything wrong. He said he awoke to hear someone breaking into his room, saw a silhouette of someone and responded “like it was automatic” by shooting the person breaking in, the report said.
He also told police he carried dual Glock 27s in a holster he wore to bed.
His lawyer, Haas, said previously that the door was open when Gomez fired the weapon. He declined to comment Tuesday about Gomez’s disappearance.
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