Tuesday, October 25, 2022

‘The whole thing’s crazy’: Police tracing trail of soldier from Renton slaying to shootings, suicide on Hood Canal Bridge

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Video-surveillance footage shows that an Army Ranger spent three minutes inside a woman’s Renton motel room on Monday, but it was apparently enough time for him to kill the 38-year-old and mutilate her body, according to Renton police.

“The camera shows him knocking on the door and the door opening,” Renton police Cmdr. Dave Leibman said of Pvt. 2nd Class Krishna Mahadevan-Prasad, 20, of Woodridge, New Jersey. “He was only in the room for three minutes.”

Police say Mahadevan-Prasad fatally shot himself early Tuesday morning after he opened fire on vehicles on the Hood Canal Bridge.

He had been assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord just two weeks earlier, apparently arriving in Washington on July 10 after completing One Station Unit Training, the Basic Airborne Course, and the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 1 at Fort Benning, Georgia, according to an Army spokeswoman. He had joined the Army in September.

In an email, the Army identified him as Krishna Prasad Mahadevan.

The slaying victim, a Bellevue woman, checked in to the Econo Lodge at 4710 Lake Washington Blvd. N.E. on Sunday, said Leibman, though he didn’t know how long she had booked the room for.

Mahadevan-Prasad checked in to the same motel on Monday around 11 a.m. with an altered ID issued in New Jersey, but the ID contained enough factual information for police to positively identify him, said Leibman.

He said police did not see Mahadevan-Prasad bring any items into his motel room, and he was inside only a short time before he was seen on the video-surveillance footage walking to the woman’s room, located on a different floor and in a different area of the motel. He was also seen leaving her room and walking south through the parking lot.

“He’s definitely our suspect,” Leibman said of the woman’s homicide.

Detectives are still going through additional footage in hopes of tracking Mahadevan-Prasad’s movements, he said.

Around 2 p.m. Monday, a motel employee entered the woman’s room, discovered her body on the floor and called 911, Leibman said. Police don’t know if the woman was also sexually assaulted because they have not yet received the results of an autopsy exam.

Police are also trying to determine Mahadevan-Prasad’s whereabouts in the hours after he left the motel and before he opened fire about 3:42 a.m. Tuesday on parked vehicles waiting for the Hood Canal Bridge to open after being closed for maintenance.

“The whole thing’s crazy. If you add up what happened at the Hood Canal, there’s so many unanswered questions,” Leibman said.

Armed with a rifle and a shotgun, Mahadevan-Prasad fired through a car in front of him, missing the driver and two children, ages 5 and 6, who were asleep in the vehicle. A bullet passed through the driver’s head rest.

“I was bending slightly over to check the maps on my phone toward the center. So I got very, very, very lucky,” said Michael Brooks, who told KOMO-TV he was driving with his two young daughters when bullets hit his car.

The driver of a van parked behind Mahadevan-Prasad’s 1995 Honda Accord suffered a glancing bullet wound to his elbow and was in stable condition, according to the Washington State Patrol.

After firing on those vehicles, Mahadevan-Prasad apparently shot himself, the Patrol said. The shooting occurred in the eastbound lane at the west end of the bridge.

Seattle Times staff reporter Hal Bernton and news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this story.

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