A Moscow man is in custody after allegedly shooting and killing three people in Moscow Saturday afternoon before leading local police on a high speed chase.
Pullman Police, with the assistance of Whitman County Sheriff’s deputies and Washington State Patrol troopers, took 29-year-old John Lee into custody after he led police on a 24-mile pursuit and crashed his vehicle north of Colfax on U.S. Highway 195.
According to Moscow Police, Lee is suspected of killing Moscow businessman David Trail, 76, in the office the apartments he owns at 303 E. Third St. in Moscow. He also allegedly shot and killed Arby’s restaurant manager Belinda Niebuhr, 47, at the restaurant located on Peterson Drive. His third alleged victim, his 61-year-old adoptive mother Terri Grzebielski, was allegedly killed at her home at the 400 block of Veatch Street.
Also injured in the assault was Seattle resident Michael Chin, 39, who was taken to Gritman Medical Center and is listed in critical condition. Chin was also shot in Trail’s office, and was the man who first alerted police of a shooting at 2:31 p.m.
Lee was initially taken to Whitman Hospital in Colfax following the crash before being booked into Whitman County Jail. He allegedly used a handgun in the shootings.
Pullman Police tried to stop Lee’s 2009 Honda Fit as he was heading west on the Moscow-Pullman Road. Lee allegedly sped away from the officer, and led Pullman Police, Colfax Police and Whitman County Sheriff’s deputies on a pursuit. According to Pullman Police, Lee allegedly drove in excess of 100 miles-per-hour before his vehicle rolled near mile marker 47.
During a Saturday evening press conference, Moscow Police Chief David Duke said police do not believe there are any additional victims.
Duke said that according to Chin, Trail and Chin were both in the same office when they were shot.
“He was talking with David Trail to do some office work, and he was just in the office when the shooter came in and immediately started shooting,” Duke said.
Trail was declared dead at Pullman Regional Hospital. Chin was shot in his arm and leg.
Duke said the shooting at Arby’s was reported while police were on scene at Trail’s office. He said it was reported that Lee walked into the restaurant and asked for Niebuhr. That’s when he shot her, Duke said.
She was transported to Gritman, where she was declared dead.
After Lee was identified as the suspect, Duke said, police began checking his acquaintances. That led them to investigating Grzebielski’s residence, where she was found dead.
Police are still investigating Lee’s relationship with the other victims and a possible motive.
“At this point, we’re not sure exactly what the motive is,” he said. “It’s currently in the preliminary stages of the investigation, so there won’t be any conclusions at this point made until we identify additional witnesses and have a chance to talk to them.”
Moscow Police are in partnership with Pullman Police and the Whitman County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation and are working to retrieve search warrants to investigate Lee’s vehicle and residence.
Moscow Police are also trying to get warrants for his arrest in order to extradite him to Moscow, Duke said. Idaho State Police and Latah County Sheriff’s Office have volunteered to help in the investigation.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4630, or by email to email@example.com.