Tribal Member who Shot and Killed Innocent Stranger in Parking Lot of Emerald Queen Casino Sentenced to 26 Years in Prison
Rampage of Assaults and Threats ends with Tragic Shooting
A 28–year-old enrolled member of the Crow Indian Tribe of Montana was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 26 years in prison and five years of supervised release for second degree murder and use of a firearm in a crime of violence, announced U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. JEREMY SCHLENKER shot and killed 26-year-old Brandon Williams in the parking lot of the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife, Washington. The two men were strangers. Brandon Williams was trying to protect his companions from SCHLENKER in the early morning of March 21, 2015. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle noted the “profound loss and unrelenting emotional pain” for Williams’ family saying SCHLENKER engaged in an “unprovoked act of aggression” while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. “Let the word go out: this is no place for mixing substance abuse with weapons possession,” Judge Settle said.
“This devastating crime requires a lengthy sentence. The victim’s family and friends deserve to know that the man who murdered their loving son and friend will be severely punished for his senseless and brutal crime,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “The public has a right to know that the defendant will not be out on the streets again for a long time – his anger once again fueled by alcohol, marijuana and guns. And although no sentence will undo the harm that this defendant caused, it does ensure that justice will prevail over the violent mayhem this defendant spread in his wake.”
According to records filed in the case, SCHLENKER had been drinking heavily the night of March 20, 2015.SCHLENKER traveled with his girlfriend to various locations on the Puyallup reservation assaulting his girlfriend multiple times and pointing a handgun at people – some of whom he did not know. At one point SCHLENKER hit the rear bumper of a car in the parking lot of the Emerald Queen Casino. When the driver of that car got out to check for damage, SCHLENKER pointed the gun at the driver ordering her to get back in the car. That victim was able to get away. Some 15 minutes later, still in the parking lot, SCHLENKER stopped his car behind a vehicle belonging to Brandon Williams. SCHLENKER’s car was blocking Williams’ car from pulling out of a parking space. SCHLENKER did not know Williams, but rolled down his window and pointed his gun at the four people in the car. SCHLENKER got out of his car and approached the passenger side of Williams’ car, asking if those inside had a gang affiliation. The passengers said they were just trying to leave. When Williams got out of the car, SCHLENKER pistol whipped him twice. As Williams turned back towards the driver’s door SCHLENKER fired twice, killing him.
Following the shooting SCHLENKER initially fled to Oregon where he was apprehended. SCHLENKER pleaded guilty on April 7, 2016.
Since SCHLENKER is a Tribal member and the crime occurred on Tribal land, federal courts have jurisdiction in this case.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Puyallup Tribal Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Rebecca Cohen and Ye-Ting Woo.