$1M Bail Set for Centralia Teen Accused of Killing Lacey Man After July 3 Fireworks


A Thurston County judge set bail at $1 million Friday for a Centralia teen accused of shooting and killing a Yelm resident after the July 3 community fireworks show in Lacey. 

Lacey police arrested Kinyoce Zavion Chatman, 19, on Thursday. They booked him into Thurston County jail on suspicion of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Jordan Pilbro, 43. 

Chatman attended his preliminary appearance in Thurston County Superior Court on Friday. During the hearing, Judge James Dixon found probable cause for the alleged crime and set the high bail amount. He did so despite Chatman’s attorney arguing the teen may have acted in self-defense.

The shooting reportedly occurred about 11 p.m. July 3 after an argument broke out between two groups near Rainier Vista Community Park, Sgt. Shannon Barnes previously told The Olympian. 

After a two-year absence, thousands had streamed to the area for the fireworks show that started at 10 p.m. and ended about 30 minutes later. Some people initially reported hearing shots, Barnes said. Then one caller found Pilbro with a gunshot wound in the 5400 block of 50th Avenue Southeast, she said. 

During the Friday hearing, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Olson requested $1 million bail, saying Pilbro’s family feared for their safety.

“This is a most serious offense and Mr. Chatman sits here today and before the court accused of murdering the victim in this case with a firearm, which was illegal for him to possess at the time of the incident,” Olson said. 

Chatman has a 2020 conviction for second-degree robbery and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm while a juvenile. That case played out in King County Superior Court.

Public defense attorney Ahmed Jenkins represented Chatman during the hearing. He requested Dixon set bail at $50,000 because Chatman may have acted in self-defense. 

“The declaration (of probable cause) clearly shows the other group were the aggressors,” Jenkins said. “The other group physically assaulted people of the group Mr. Chatman was allegedly part of. Mr. Chatman’s alleged actions were reactionary, potentially in self-defense.” 

Jenkins said Chatman’s adult record lacked any violent offenses or court order violations.

Dixon acknowledged Chatman had a favorable adult history and may have acted in self-defense. However, he ultimately decided the alleged offense outweighed those factors. 

“Even if that is accurate, I’m not saying it is accurate, that’s why we have trials, that doesn’t justify shooting somebody, killing someone,” Dixon said. 

In siding with Olson, Dixon concluded Chatman poses a danger to the community and may interfere with the case if released.

The probable cause statement describes the investigation into the shooting from the perspective of law enforcement. 

A Thurston County SWAT Team already present at the park were the first to find Pilbro and render aid, according to the statement. Multiple Lacey officers at the event responded soon after. 

Officers found Pilbro’s family members at the scene, but the statement says they could not provide statements at the time because they were upset and appeared intoxicated.

Two witnesses reportedly told police they heard a “very loud disturbance” and then gunshots. The witnesses said they then saw a group of people run east along a fence line on the south side of the tennis courts and the park. 

They heard one person say they just shot a person, and said that he appeared surprised he had done it, according to the statement. 

The witnesses reportedly described this person as 5 foot 7 inches to 6 feet tall with a thin build and black clothing. Police believe this description matches Chatman.

At the scene, police found two 9-millimeter casings. An autopsy later recovered two 9-millimeter rounds from Pilbro’s body. 

In follow-up interviews, Pilbro’s family told police they got into a verbal argument with “kids” walking on a trail on the other side of a fenced backyard where they were. This argument escalated to a physical altercation when members of the Pilbro family left the residence and went to the field, according to court records. 

Officers found one of the “kids” directly involved in the incident in the nearby area. This person told police his group was wandering the area looking for a drunk friend when the argument started.

The statement says he told police the conversation “became racial” and “tempers grew.” 

At one point, he said an adult from the residence pushed one of the people in his group to the ground and started punching him in the head.

 In response, he said Chatman pointed a gun at the adult attacking the person in his group. Jordan Pilbro then allegedly lunged in his direction and Chatman shot him two times, according to the probably cause statement.

Another person belonging to Chatman’s group corroborated that account, adding Chatman warned the adults multiple times to stay back because he had a gun, according to the statement. 

Police also interviewed the person who Chatman’s group allege was assaulted by an adult from the residence. The statement says he described the same situation as the first two and confirmed he was assaulted by one of the adults.

A fourth person belonging to Chatman’s group also corroborated the series of events described by the others. After the shooting, they all ran from the area, according to the statement. 

Based on the interviews, the statement says Lacey detectives determined probable cause to arrest Chatman for second-degree murder. 

Lacey officers later arrested Chatman outside his home in Centralia “without incident,” according to the statement. He declined to give a statement and requested an attorney.

Using a search warrant, detectives collected 9-millimeter ammunition and Chatman’s cell phone from his home. The statement says detectives have requested additional warrants to comb his cell phone, social media and cell phone tower data.

A review hearing for Chatman’s case has been scheduled for July 14 and his arraignment has been set for July 19. 

A GoFundMe has been set up for Pilbro’s family to help pay for rent, food and monthly bills. There will be a candlelight vigil for Pilbro at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 10 at Rainier Vista Community Park that is open to the public.