Suspect in Home Invasion Thwarted by Armed Citizen in Custody, Already Well-Known to Police

Suspect in Home Invasion Thwarted by Armed Citizen in Custody, Already Well-Known to Police

You might remember the attempted home invasion in Auburn, Washington last month that ended with the suspects fleeing into the night after the armed homeowner fired shots at them while they were trying to kick in his door. The entire encounter was caught on video and actually received some national media attention as a result, unlike most defensive gun uses.

The homeowner was unharmed in his encounter, though the suspects had fired several shots in his direction as they took off running. Now one of the three men believed to be responsible is behind bars, and police say it’s not the first time he’s been taken into custody.

The APD said the man “has a long history of violent crimes and is believed to be an active member of a group of criminals that targets Asian families for home invasion robberies.” The department said the man had a stolen pistol with an illegal switch in his waistband when he was taken into custody Wednesday night.

The attempted home invasion happened around 2 a.m. on Oct, 19 at a home on the 31000 block of 117th Place Southeast in Auburn. The attempted home invasion and burglary was captured on security video and shared by the APD.

The security video shows three armed men wearing masks walk up to the home, open the screen door and start kicking the door. One of the men can be heard in the video yelling, “Seattle police.”

The APD said the man who was arrested Wednesday is the person wearing a black sweatshirt who is seen in the video walking up to the door first.

According to a post from the Auburn PD on X, the suspect is a man named Devante Leach. A person with that same name was the subject of another news story in January of this year, when police in Bonney Lake, Washington sought the public’s help in bringing him and another suspect into custody after a woman’s credit cards were stolen. As Fox 13 in Seattle reported:

Leach also has a DOC warrant for his arrest for violating the terms of his release after he was convicted of Assault 1st Degree. He was last known to live in Tacoma, is a known gang member and may have traveled to the Portland area.

I was also able to find a court record for Leach dating back to 2012 involving that assault conviction. Leach successfully argued before a Washington State appellate court that his guilty plea to assault with a firearm enhancement and unlawful possession of a firearm should be tossed based on ineffective assistance of counsel, though he apparently was convicted on the same charge at a later date. In that filing, the appellate court noted that Leach had a juvenile record as well, so his criminal history appears to stretch back more than a decade.

I suppose it’s possible that there are two men named Devante Leach in Washington State, each with a long criminal history, but chances are that this is the same guy. That raises the question of how and why Leach was free to allegedly commit these crimes given his troubled past and recent charges.

The Democratic majority in the legislature has adopted several gun control measures in recent years, and voters in Washington State have done the same with I-1639 back in 2018, but the recently enacted ban on “large capacity” magazines, “universal” background checks, and ban on the sale of so-called assault weapons have done nothing to drive down the state’s violent crime rate. In fact, homicides in Washington have been on the rise for the past three years, with a 17% increase reported between 2021 and 2022, while violent crime increased by 8.5%.

We don’t have any statewide data for 2023 yet, but there are indications that this year could be even worse despite the fact that violent crime is trending down nationwide. As of September 30th, homicides in Seattle are up 20% compared to last year, and are at levels not seen since the early 1990s. Meanwhile, police across the Seattle area are reporting a disturbing increase in a particular style of carjacking.

In the incidents, the victim driver is usually rear-ended. When the victim gets out to check for damage, they are confronted by suspects who then steal their car at gunpoint.

The latest incident happened in Renton on Friday when a driver coming out of a Walmart parking lot was rear-ended by a car. The occupants of the car then got out and carjacked the victim’s vehicle at gunpoint.

In Bellevue, police are warning the public that similar incidents have been happening there.

Also on Friday, a man in Bellevue said he was involved in a minor collision with two men in a white Kia, who then got out of their car, pointed handguns at him, and demanded his car keys.

Mark Tarantino, Major with the Bellevue Police Department said the man didn’t give up his car keys and the suspects fled in their original car. However, he said people should not force the issue and should give armed carjackers whatever they’re looking for.

“We obviously don’t want people to take matters into their own hands. They’re not trained for that we don’t want to see people get hurt,” he said. “Take the safe route and let them have what they’re after.”

Put your trust and faith in the thug robbing you at gunpoint? With all due respect to Tarantino, no thanks. If the armed citizen in Auburn had taken his advice when three suspects tried to invade his home, he could easily have ended up dead.

Washington State’s soft-on-crime and tough-on-lawful-gun-owners strategy is making the state a more dangerous place, empowering repeat offenders and making it harder to exercise your right to armed self-defense. Thankfully, anti-gunners haven’t completely obliterated the right to keep and bear arms and defensive gun uses are still possible, but if the gun control lobby gets its way prolific offenders like Leach won’t have to worry about running into an armed homeowner when they go kicking in someone’s front door.