The Federal Way man suspected of murdering four people before being killed by police this week appears to have had a history of violence but never spent any time in jail because the allegations were never serious enough, while police have released recordings of the frantic 911 calls from the shooting.
Dennis Clark III was well known for his fits of rage. He was looked at by police in Seattle and Federal Way in domestic violence cases that involved verbal abuse, but he was never arrested because there were no allegations of assault.
The Seattle Times reports the 27-year-old student and UPS worker was arrested in 2002 after attacking his then-girlfriend with a BB gun in Snohomish County. The girl was shot twice with the gun as she was walking home. She described Clark as controlling. She told police he had an anger problem. She said he slapped her and punched walls when he lost his temper. She was eventually granted a domestic violence protection order because she feared he would get a weapon and come after her. Clark was charged as a juvenile with 4th degree assault.
A more recent girlfriend told KING 5 she saw Clark’s violent side in the few months they dated, and she thought he was stalking her. “I felt like he was watching from outside,” the woman said. “I just had that instinct.”
She said Clark showed up at her apartment last month and was acting crazy. He jumped on her and took her cell phone. “I was begging for my life, asking him ‘please don’t hurt me,'” she said. Clark wasn’t arrested after this incident because the woman was not physically assaulted.
That was the last time she saw him. “I was shocked,” she said. “That could have been me.”
The investigation into why Clark killed his 24-year-old girlfriend on Sunday night and then killed three potential witnesses to the crime continues.
Clark’s family said they have no idea what might have set him off.
The terrifying shooting spree is captured on recordings of 911 calls released Wednesday. Multiple gunshots are clearly heard in the background as frightened neighbors bombard dispatchers.
“Oh my god, I heard a bunch of gunshots,” says one caller breathlessly.
“They shot him. They shot him. There was like three or four shots,” another frantic caller tells 911.
“I ran into the house because they saw me,” says another frightened neighbor who tells the dispatcher she’s in fear for her own life.
“Stay down, don’t go outside, stay down inside your apartment,” a dispatcher tells another caller.
The Medical Examiner has now identified three of the four victims.
Clark’s girlfriend was identified as Justine Baez, 24. 62-year-old Roland L. Scobee was shot through his apartment door after calling 911. Ceasar Valdovinos, 23, was shot in the back as he ran from Clark. His family said he was visiting a friend at the Pinewood Village apartments when he was killed.
A fourth victim, believed to be a 47 year-old resident of Federal Way, has not yet been positively identified by the Medical Examiner.