Michael Campbell, 54, has been charged with second-degree murder and kidnapping, accused of shooting a catalytic converter thief, dragging him behind his truck and leaving him in a field to die
A homeless man from Washington state has been accused of shooting a suspected catalytic converter thief, then dragging him with his truck 400 feet and leaving to die in a field south of Tacoma.
Alleged killer Michael Campbell was caught after police were called in the early hours of Saturday to reports of a truck dragging an unidentified object through the parking lot of a business in Lakewood.
When officers responded to the scene, they found the lifeless body of a man in his 40s in a nearby field, authorities said. The victim was identified in court documents only by his initials - B.P.
Investigators said they then found Campbell, 54.
He told them them he had been sleeping in the back of his truck when he heard a loud noise coming from a thief he claims was trying to steal the catalytic converter from under his vehicle.
Campbell told investigators he shot the thief at least three times, hitting him in the stomach and torso.
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The botched theft and shooting took place in this parking lot in Lakewood, Washington, on Saturday morning
Campbell told police he was sleeping in his truck when he heard a noise and saw a man stealing his catalytic converter. He then shot the thief at least three times
The man tried to run back to his own vehicle, but collapsed. Campbell then tied the wounded thief's hands above his head, it is alleged.
He then attached the rope to the ball hitch of his white Ford F-150 truck and drove away before leaving him in the field, according to probable cause documents cited by KING5.
Carol Williams told KIRO7 she was sleeping in her van with her two German Shepherds when she heard the shots.
'I peeked out the back window and I didn’t see anything but I did hear a man screaming… I did hear him say, you know, "I’m bleeding,"' she told the station.
Responding officers later found a 'significant' amount of blood in the parking lot where the shooting took place, and followed tire and drag marks directly to the victim's body lying in the grass.
When police tracked down Campbell, he told them the thief was still alive and talking when he was tied to the truck.
Officers said the victim was dragged about 400 feet before coming to rest at the location where he was eventually found dead.
Officials in Washington state say they have seen in spike in catalytic converter thefts because the auto parts contain precious metals
Campbell then allegedly returned to the parking lot, got into the victim's vehicle and drove away. He returned on foot a short time later, entered his own truck and took off.
A witness was being interviewed by the police in the parking lot when he spotted Campbell's white pickup truck driving away and pointed it out to the cops, who followed the suspect and initiated a traffic stop near 100th Street and South Tacoma Way.
A search of Campbell's truck reportedly yielded a 9mm pistol and green rope that matched the one used to restrain the shooting victim. Campbell has previous felony convictions and is barred from owning firearms.
Campbell was booked into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and kidnapping. He is due back in court on June 28.
Officials in Washington state say they have seen in spike in catalytic converter thefts because the auto parts contain precious metals that can be extracted and sold for profit.