Photo courtesy of Renae Brooks
A recent photo of Stephen Jeffries who was shot twice and killed during a New Year’s Eve party.

Family and friends desperate for information on New Year’s murder

By Tim Clifford

“This family is totally, completely numb; in a total state-of-shock...however, we trust God and we are a very strong family” says Renae Brooks of the aftermath for her family after the New Year’s Eve murder of her nephew Stephen Jeffries.

Brooks has been pushing for media exposure on this case in the hopes of getting any information and has an account called “Journey for Justice” at gofundme.com that is asking for tips and donations. “Steven did not have the demeanor where anyone could nor would begrudge him” says Brooks when asked if she knew of anyone who could have had a motive to harm Jeffries.

Jeffries, a father to four daughters and an employee with the Public Works department of the city of Seattle for nearly two decades, was shot twice at a party on New Year’s eve and died shortly after police and paramedics took him to Harbor View Medical Center. A 33-year-old woman was also shot at the same time and survived. Despite the large number of people who were present at the party there is still no information on what happened that night or why.

A surprise came to the family a couple of days later when a Facebook page called “White Center Shooting-New Year’s Eve” popped up offering a reward of $940 for information leading to an arrest. The page was set up by a close friend of Jeffries’s and his family named Michael Wheeler. “My need to do something to get the word out immediately and catch my friend's killer was my motivation. I was very sad and I felt completely helpless” says Wheeler.

The reward money has been compiled using funds donated from friends of Jeffries and from donations to an account on the site GiveForward.com. “I was betting on someone that was there at the party seeing my page, feeling guilty, and coming forward so we could make sense out of this horrible act. I know there was a lot of young people at that party that practically live on Facebook, so I was hoping that if I was able to put a name to the face that they saw murdered, they would do the right thing and share information” continued Wheeler. If no one comes forward to give information the reward will be given to Jeffries’s oldest daughter Denise for her to divide among the rest of the family.

“Once Stephen was shot nobody, no one, no way, no how told the police, or the detectives, or the investigators the murder’s name or anything like that…they were uncooperative” says Michelle Jeffries, Stephen Jeffries’s mother, of that night. The family and friends of Jeffries are urging anyone with any knowledge to come forward, even anonymously, to bring the killer to justice.

For Michelle Jeffries justice means all the more considering that soon it will be the twelve year anniversary of the shooting and death of her other son, William, at a house party. When discussing both tragedies over the phone Ms. Jeffries expressed her grief saying “This is the second time, it’s the second time and it’s the same b.s. I’m Christian and I’m telling you I’ve lost my Christianity…this doesn’t make any sense”.

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