Victim: The gunman looked happy

Victim: The gunman looked happy »Play Video
Washington State Troopers lead shooting suspect, Isaac Zamora, to the county jail, Tuesday Sept. 2, 2008 in Mount Vernon, Wash. (AP Photo/The Skagit Valley Herald, Scott Terrell)

SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. -- Ben Mercado thought a sledge hammer had hit him in the arm while he was riding his motorcycle. The sharp pain turned out to be a gunshot wound.

"I just didn't know. I'd never been shot before," he said.

Surveillance video captured by cameras at a nearby gas station actually shows Mercado flinching as a gunman fires from a passing truck.

Investigators said Mercado was one of eight people shot by Isaac Zamora, 28, during a violent rampage on Tuesday.

"I never made eye contact with the driver," said Mercado.

But Fred Binschus did.

"I was 12 feet from him when he shot me," he said.

One bullet pierced his back, a second went through his hip. The pain aside, Binschus said he'll never shake the image of Zamora's face.

"He just kind of looked like he was happy, like he was smiling," he said. "I asked him, 'What are you doing?'"

Binschus' wife, Julie, did not survive.

"Of all the angels, she's the big, prettiest, biggest angel of them all," said Fred.

Fred said he was outside his home near a creek when Zamora approached him and shot him twice. When his wife returned from work and drove up to the scene,  the gunman turned his attention from him to her, Fred said. 

On Thursday Fred returned to his home and examined the evidence of Julie's last struggle.

"We saw the tire tracks. She tried to get away and she spun out in the travel, went out in the grass, and didn't make it through the gate, and hit a nut tree. And then he came up and executed her while she was in the truck," he said.

Fred ran to a neighbor's home for help and lay bleeding on her floor for two hours before help arrived.

For Julie's youngest daughter, the pain of loss is almost too much to bear.

"I'm just so lost without her," said Trisha Binschus. "(I'm) never going to see her again, never going to hug her. And I'm getting married next year and she was going to help me plan my wedding."

Family members said Julie had been diagnosed with breast cancer just a few weeks ago. The day before she was killed, Fred said he came home and found his wife sitting outside, crying. When he approached her, she turned to him and said, "I don't want to die."

A somber motorcade accompanied the bodies of five of the victims from Tuesday's shooting rampage from the crime scenes to the medical examiner's office in Everett.

A candlelight vigil for all six victims will be held at Alger Community Church on Friday at 8 p.m. The public is invited to attend. 


A memorial fund for Julie Binschus has been established at Peoples Bank