Prosecutor charges ‘transient’ with murder of Kent man in Auburn

Victim found in a field of the former drive-in theater

  • Thursday, April 18, 2019 4:35pm
  • News

The King County Prosecutor has charged a man with second-degree murder for fatally shooting 31-year-old Silvano Ruiz Perez of Kent and leaving him to die in a field late last month at the site of the former Auburn Valley 6 Drive-In movie theaters.

Border Patrol officers arrested Abbas Salah Zghair, 24, April 13 as he was trying to enter Canada at the Sumas border crossing. He is in custody at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent on $2.5 million bail.

According to the King County Medical Examiner, Ruiz Perez died from a single shotgun blast to the chest.

Zghair, who is listed as “transient” in court records, has denied the murder charge.

Below is a synopsis of what happened, according to the Auburn Police Department’s Certification for Determination of Probable Cause.

At about 4:09 a.m. on March 23, Zghair and Ruiz Perez arrived at a point near the 4900 block of D Street Northeast in Zghair’s 2002 white Pontiac Grand Am. There, according to police, in the course of assaulting Ruiz Perez, Zghair shot him and then drove away.

According to the police account, Ruiz Perez lay in the field until 9 a.m. March 24, when a passerby saw his body and called 911, summoning Auburn Police patrol officers and detectives to the scene.

According to the account, police followed a trail of blood through the field, a trail that appeared to begin on D Street Northeast and end at Ruiz Perez’ body. The dead man’s license provided police with his identity.

According to the police account, a transient living in the nearby woods told officers she had heard a gunshot between 3 and 4 a.m. followed by a second gunshot. About that time, she added, she had also heard two people arguing in a foreign language.

According to the police account, Ruiz Perez’s fianceé, who had last spoken with him three hours before the established time of his death to arrange for him an Uber ride home, grew alarmed when he did not answer his cell phone – as he always had – despite numerous calls she made that morning and into the following day.

By collecting video footage from nearby businesses, according to the police account, police identified the white Pontiac, which they soon linked to Zghair. Also valuable to police were Ruiz Perez’ cellphone records, which placed him in Zghair’s car and near the death scene up to the established time of the murder.

After the murder, according to the police account, Zghair drove away with Ruiz Perez’ phone still in his car.

Detectives visited Zghair’s home in Kent last week. He wasn’t there, but police took custody of his car.

At about 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sumas Police officers responded to the Sumas border crossing, where a man had shown border agents someone else’s identification, Sumas Police Chief Daniel Debruin told the Bellingham Herald. A Customs fingerprint request soon identified the man as Zghair, according to the Herald.

According to court records, shortly after the murder, Zghair shaved his mustache and beard to disguise his appearance. When he was stopped at the border crossing with another person’s ID, he turned and fled on foot from the Customs and Border Patrol officers, and upon arrest gave a false date of birth.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rhyan Anderson summed up the case in his argument for high bail at Zghair’s arraignment April 17:

“The defendant committed (the) senseless murder of 31-year-old Silvano Ruiz-Perez. After the victim was shot, the defendant left him in a field to die. The defendant then began covering tracks, including abandoning the white Pontiac, disguising his appearance, and using someone else’s identification to flee the country when he learned police were onto him.”

In 2015, according to court papers, Zghair was charged in Lewis County Superior Court with trying to elude a police vehicle to avoid capture for speeding. In 2018, he was charged in Kent Municipal Court for making a false statement to a public servant and for obstruction of justice.

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