SPOKANE, Wash. – Court documents made available Tuesday revealed new details about the day of marijuana shop employee was allegedly kidnapped and killed in his own vehicle.
Donovan Culps is suspected of killing Cameron Smith, a pot shop employee at Lucid in Cheney.
According to a warrant, detectives spoke with another employee at the shop who said he saw the suspect and two women outside after he had refused service to them. The witness said he stepped outside to ask Smith if everything was ok, and Smith told him he was fine, so the witness went back inside.
“A short time later,” the court documents read, “[he] heard a loud noise but was unsure exactly what the noise was.”
The witness said he ran back outside and saw the man he had refused service to driving the victim’s car away.
Another witness who had been sitting in his car at the light near the shop said he heard two gunshots coming from the parking lot, then saw the victim’s car peel out. He told investigators he was acutely aware of his surroundings when he saw the car leave the parking lot, and speed past other vehicles in the northbound lane by driving in the turn lane.
“As the vehicle passed, he saw a lone occupant and described him as a Native American male with a pony tail,” the court documents said. As the car drove by, the witness said heard another gunshot come from inside the car as it passed him. A third witness also said she heard the initial shots, then another less than a minute later.
Investigators said they found vehicle safety glass where the victim’s car had been parked in the lot, plus an unusual Chicago Bulls baseball cap with Native American bead work on the brim, according to court documents. That hat was the same as the one worn by the male suspect that tried to purchase marijuana in the store just minutes before the apparent shooting.
According to court documents, the investigators also located two 9mm casings at the scene with several other evidence items. Officials said they believed the weapon used was a Glock.
Police have previously named Culps’ niece in the case – one of the two women believed to be in the car – as well. Violetta Culps, 18, at last check, had not been located.
The third person believed to be in the car was located by investigators, but not apparently charged, told investigators she, Violetta and Donovan had gone to Spokane and to the Lucid Marijuana store. She said both Culps and Violetta had gone into the store, according to court documents, but she had waited in their pickup. She said Culps had shot out the victim’s window, gotten in the car and drove out of Cheney, according to court documents.
She relayed to investigators Culps had said he shot the victim twice in the face and seven times in the back for a total of nine times, and he drove to the mountains, which turned out to be on Spokane Tribal land.
She told investigators Culps had thrown the victim’s wallet out of the vehicle and the three of them continued down the road. She said the victim’s body was disposed a few miles away from the wallet, according to court documents.
Culps was found on Sept. 14 in the Goldendale, Washington area after a police chase.
He has a criminal record, according to court documents, including two felonies and misdemeanors.
The Cheney Police Department confirmed Friday night detectives are looking into the possibility Culps is responsible for another unsolved murder, but could not elaborate. No one from the FBI was immediately available to comment on that case Tuesday.
Culps is being held on $1 million bail at the Spokane County jail. The inmate roster indicates Culps also faces charges for first degree kidnapping, unlawful possession of a firearm, and possession of a stolen motor vehicle relating to the shooting at the marijuana shop in Cheney.
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