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Bremerton police had no notice about New Year's Eve party that ended in shooting
Despite clear protocols being in place, Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan says his department had no advance notice about a large New Year's Eve Party at the Baymont Inn and Suites that turned violent, leaving one man shot in the back and a woman with head and face injuries.
"There was private security on site, but we were not notified ahead of time about this," Strachan told city council members Thursday night during an informal briefing. "So, we're following up on that to make sure that doesn't happen again and checking in on what the process was in terms of what had occurred before that night."
The "Royal RSVP" event was promoted on social media and elsewhere and promised to be "The West Sound's Biggest New Year's Eve Event Hands Down." Hundreds of partygoers consumed mixed drinks in plastic cups and beer in glass bottles in the lower-level ballroom of the hotel. By 1:30 a.m., things turned violent.
"One of the really concerning elements of this is we really didn't have notice of this ahead of time, number one," Strachan said. "Number two, it was a very confrontational scene. A lot of people were intoxicated and angry and sort of circling in and enclosing our officers and the other agencies that were there to help us out."
One man was arrested for obstructing officers, but has not been charged. A second was detained, identified and released.
The first officer to arrive on the scene found a 31-year-one man lying on his side with a gunshot wound to his lower back. A pair of witnesses advised the officer that a possible suspect had fled westbound on Kitsap Way in a white Lexus or Acura. They also provided a seven-figure license plate number that turned out to only be off by one letter.
A second officer quickly located the Acura and initiated a traffic stop, but the driver fled. He eventually fishtailed the vehicle, ran over a stump and bailed from the still-moving vehicle while it rolled at about 10 to 15 mph and struck a tree. The driver, later identified as Jamar Lamont Irving, 31, fled, but was subsequently tracked by a K-9 and arrested.
Officers could see a handgun in the seatback pocket on the passenger side of the Acura and obtained a search warrant. They recovered a Cobra 45 caliber semi-automatic handgun. There was a loaded magazine in the grip containing six live rounds and no round in the chamber. The gun, though, was not a match for the one used to shoot the 31-year-old man at the hotel.
In the center console of the car, officers also found 9.8 grams of powder cocaine and 3.5 grams of crack. According to a probable cause statement, Irving has a long criminal history including four felony convictions for the following: controlled substance possession with no prescription, unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree, bail jumping, and possession of a firearm. The probable cause statement also notes that Irving repeatedly provided a false name that matched a driver's license he had during his arrest. He was positively identified at the Kitsap County Jail and had a felony Department of Corrections warrant out for his arrest.
Irving was charged Thursday in Kitsap County District Court with unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).
Strachan says several detectives continue to actively investigate the shooting. He said that the Liquor Control Board was aware of the event ahead of time and actually stopped in at the party, but word never made it to his department.