Bail set at $500,000 for Kent man accused of fatally shooting driver in car

KENT, Wash. -- Bail was set at $500,000 Friday for a 37-year-old Kent man accused of fatally shooting an acquaintance sitting in the driver's seat of a parked car.

Investigators said detectives received information that led them to the suspect in the East Hill area of Kent. He was taken into custody and booked into jail on a charge of second-degree murder.

He is not being identified because he has not been formally charged. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Sept. 15 -- also the deadline for a charging decision.

Police were called around 10 a.m. Wednesday to the 300 block of Central Avenue South for the report of a man in a car who was unconscious with labored breathing. The 911 callers were attempting CPR on the man when officers arrived, police said.

Fire Department medics took over CPR efforts, but the man died, police said.

“As officers investigated the incident, a single gunshot wound in the upper torso of the victim was discovered,” police said in a news release.

According to court records, the deceased man was identified as James Christopher Knowlton, 42.

The court records say the suspect, after his arrest, told detectives that he "had a problem with Jim disrespecting his mother" and was running up to the car to confront Knowlton as he was preparing to drive away.

The suspect told detectives that as he started to point the gun at Knowlton in the driver's seat, the gun went off, shattering the window. He said he heard Knowlton groan and got a friend to check on Knowlton. When they realized Knowlton had been shot, they told witnesses to call 911 and left.