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Monday, December 2, 2002



Tacoma shooting
shocks isle family

Kimberly Riley, 19, was killed
during a holiday gathering


By Rosemarie Bernardo
rbernardo@starbulletin.com

Volcano resident Mike Riley called his daughter Kimberly in Washington around 9:30 a.m. Thursday to wish her a happy Thanksgiving.

About 12 hours later, his son called to tell him that Kimberly had been shot.

Kimberly Riley, 19, was one of four people shot during a holiday get-together in Tacoma, Wash. A 5-year-old boy also died, while the other two victims survived.

Kimberly had joined her brother James, 22, at the home of Joseph and Evangeline Britt for Thanksgiving. At about 10:05 p.m. a gunman outside the house fired multiple shots through a first-floor window, according to Jim Mattheis, Tacoma Police Department spokesman.

Mattheis said partially drawn drapes and foggy windows obscured the view inside the home, so it was not clear who the gunman was targeting. Witnesses reported seeing one person running from the house after the shooting and a dark-colored Ford pickup truck with a light-colored canopy speeding from the area, Mattheis said.

Mike Riley said he received a call from his son around 9:30 p.m. that Kimberly was being admitted to the emergency room at Madigan Army Medical Center. A surgeon told him that his daughter had two gunshot wounds to the chest, and suggested that he and his wife, Carol, travel to Washington as soon as possible.

About 45 minutes later, as they were packing, the surgeon called back and told them Kimberly had died.

"We're devastated. We're very close to Kim," said Riley.

James, who was working as an electrician in Washington, told his father that he left the room just before the shooting.

"We almost lost them both," Mike Riley said.

Kimberly Riley, born and raised in Volcano, graduated from Waiakea High School in 2001. She attended the University of Hawaii-Hilo and later transferred to the University of Washington her sophomore year. She majored in liberal arts and had taken an interest in accounting, Riley said. She hoped to own a business one day, he added.

Kimberly Riley was also a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Hilo and volunteered at the Aloha Veterinary Center.

"I was shocked and I didn't believe it," said Leslie Fukushima, an organist at the church.

"I still don't want to believe that she's gone. She had so much potential and so much to give," Fukushima said.

The 5-year-old who died was identified as Jeremy Bayinthavong, the Britts' grandson. Britt's nephew, Jeff Spencer, 22, was shot in the leg, and his sister, Harmony Spencer, 20, was shot in the abdomen. Both were in stable condition at Tacoma General Hospital, Mattheis said.

Mike Riley said he is filled with anger at whoever shot his daughter.

"I want them caught. I will do whatever it takes for them to be caught," he said.

Funeral arrangements for Kimberly Riley are pending.



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