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Alleged kidnapping victim escapes at Kirkland Safeway; police seek suspect | Update
Kirkland police surrounded the Evergreen Hill Safeway Wednesday after hearing reports that a potentially armed man had assaulted his girlfriend and was holding her against her will at the grocery store.
Police said the suspect, 25-year-old Luis A. Martinez, was able to escape.
“He could have been one of the customers that walked out while we were getting here,” Kirkland police Lt. Mike Murray said, adding that it seemed like a domestic violence case.
Police are now actively looking for the Renton man in the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault of the 28-year-old Renton woman, according to a Renton Police Department news release.
Renton police reported there was probable cause to arrest Martinez for investigation of kidnapping, rape and auto theft.
The assault occurred in Renton, but Renton police weren't contacted until about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday by police officers in Kirkland, where the victim had managed to escape.
Renton police said that the woman met Martinez at a Renton restaurant on Wednesday regarding some paperwork.
Martinez allegedly had a few drinks before getting into the victim's car with her. While the woman was driving, police said Martinez pulled out a handgun and racked the slide and told her she would be spending the day with him.
Martinez allegedly forced her to drive to several locations and at one location police say he pressed his gun into her side and sexually assaulted her.
The two then stopped at the Kirkland Safeway.
“While the victim was getting help, Martinez used the victim’s debit card to withdraw several hundred dollars from her account at an ATM," the Renton police news release states. "Once Martinez realized that the victim had escaped, he left in her car, which he gassed up before disappearing.”
The victim’s car was later found in Tukwila and processed by Tukwila Police for evidence.
At approximately 2:45 p.m., the Safeway manager and the alleged victim called 911 to report the woman was assaulted in Renton and then brought to the Safeway, located at the 14400 block of 124th Ave. NE, without consent.
Murray said the woman was able to remove herself from the man near the store’s pharmacy before getting help.
Police then surrounded the store but refrained from asking people to evacuate. Eventually, the manager and woman confirmed the suspect was gone.
Although Murray said he could not see any visible injuries, the woman was taken to EvergreenHealth Medical Center where detectives conducted further interviews.
Murray said Renton police checked on the woman’s children at their Renton daycare as a precautionary measure. They were picked up by relatives and taken to a safe location, according to the Renton news release.
Kirkland police are assisting with this case but have turned the investigation over to the Renton Police Department.
Martinez is described as 6 feet tall, weighing 185 pounds, with black hair and black eyes. He has tattoos on his neck that are visible from the front; a red star on the right front of his neck and the beginning of a scripted word on the left side of his neck.
Martinez was last seen with a handgun and should be considered armed and dangerous, according to police.
He is known to stay in hotels, where he checks in under an assumed name, often travels by Metro bus, and usually hangs out in southeast or east King County, according to police.
Anyone who sees Martinez or knows of his whereabouts is asked to call 911 immediately.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Renton Police Department at (425) 430-7500 and refer to case No. 13-11400.
Dean Radford of Sound Publishing’s Renton Reporter contributed to this report.