Federal Way

Mother of Federal Way murder victim searching for answers

Mother of Federal Way murder victim searching for answers
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Justine Baez would have turned 25-years-old next week.

But now her dad is carving a wood urn for her remains and her mother is wondering how a man her daughter said she loved could have ended her life.

Baez was shot down two weeks ago during a deadly rampage inside a Federal Way apartment complex. The shooter, 27-year-old Dennis Clark, killed four people before police put him down.

Bullets and blood coated the crime scene at Pinewood Village, where Baez and Clark rented an apartment.

Her mother, Susan Meyer, can't shed the feeling she could have done more to keep her daughter safe.

"I should have been there for her. I should have been there to help her out," Meyer said.

Detectives say Clark, who had been dating Baez for five years, opened fire on her on April 21 and shot at any neighbor who tried to stop him.

"I could never imagine that Dennis was capable of that, none of us knew," Meyer said.

By the end of the rampage, Baez and four others -- including Clark -- were dead.

"She was the best daughter anyone could ever ask for," Meyer said.

Police shot and killed Clark when he reached for his weapon, and now Meyer will never be able to ask him why he did it.

"All we would have had to say is why, why did you do this? What did she do to you to make you do this, to set you off like this?" she said.

Relatives say Clark may have been angry that Baez broke off their relationship, but she didn't tell her mom about the breakup.

"She told my son, but she didn't want me or my husband to know about it," she said. "I think she wanted to protect us."

Meyer said it's upsetting to read posts online from strangers who assume her daughter was in a gang or was somehow to blame for the shooting for staying in a bad relationship. She said Baez was just an innocent victim and the blame should be placed squarely on Clark.

"I feel that ever bullet he got was for every person that died and the family members," she said.