Second Suspect in Grays Harbor County Shooting Arrested


Law enforcement personnel arrested the second suspect in a fatal Monday shooting in Moclips on Thursday.

Rufus A. Phelps IV was taken into custody without incident on Thursday after being recognized in public, according to a news release from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff's Office. His father, Rufus A. Phelps III, the other suspect in the shooting, was arrested Wednesday after surrendering himself in Seattle.

"We are very pleased to have both dangerous suspects in custody so quickly," Undersheriff Brad Johansson said in the news release. "The Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office Detectives and Deputies have worked around the clock on this investigation."

The younger Phelps was transported to the county jail as an accomplice in first-degree murder, second-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. The sheriff's office is not looking for further suspects at this time, according to the news release. Detectives were able to locate the firearm they believe was used in the shooting, according to the news release.

"We appreciate the assistance from the citizen who alerted us to Phelps. We also appreciate the assistance we received from numerous law enforcement agencies," Johansson said. "Large investigations like this cannot be completed without teamwork from all law enforcement."

An unrelated victim contacted the sheriff's office during the investigation, alleging that the younger Phelps sexually assaulted her on March 11. Detectives are still investigating this and will submit their evidence to the county prosecutor when the investigation is complete, according to the news release.

Grays Harbor County deputies responded to the 100 block of Otis Avenue in Moclips at about 1:40 p.m. Monday to a report of a shooting. Deputies located a 59-year-old man, who was suffering from gunshot wounds. 

“Officers from the Hoquiam Police Department, Quinault Police Department and the Aberdeen Police Department all arrived on scene to assist in securing the scene, gathering statements and attempting to locate the suspect,” according to the news release from the sheriff’s office. “A deputy from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, an officer from the Quinault Police Department, and personnel from Fire District 8 began life-saving efforts on the male victim but were unsuccessful and the man died shortly after being transported from the scene.”

The victim has not been identified by the sheriff’s office.

Through interviews of neighbors and witnesses, deputies were able to identify the suspect as Phelps III. 

Phelps III fled the scene shortly after the incident, according to the sheriff’s office. Investigators believe an argument began over a property dispute, which led to the shooting. Detectives finished searching the scene early Tuesday morning.