Ex-Snohomish residents to stand trial in shooting

The Seattle Times, August 20, 1998
By the Associated Press

SAN DIEGO - Two former Snohomish County men with ties to a fringe religious group have been ordered to stand trial on charges of attempting to kill a police officer.

Christopher Turgeon, 34, and Blaine Applin, 28, are accused of shooting at a San Diego patrol car as it followed their car onto Interstate 5 in July.

Turgeon and Applin, in jail in lieu of $1 million bail, also face charges of armed robbery, attempted armed robbery and false imprisonment.

They could face life in prison if convicted.

Police say Turgeon is the leader of Gatekeepers, a religious group that consists of four families that moved last year from the Seattle area to a spot near Pala in northern San Diego County.

Authorities suspect that someone from the group may have fatally shot Dan Jess, 40, a former follower March 29 in his mobile home in Mountlake Terrace. They also are investigating the group in connection with a string of robberies.

A police search of the group's house last month turned up suspected stolen property and weapons, SWAT uniforms and gas masks.

During a hearing yesterday, San Diego police Officer Leonard Lefler said he spotted a brown car in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant the night of July 13. He radioed for a license-plate check when the driver made an illegal turn.

Lefler, with his nephew in the car as a civilian ride-along, followed the car onto the freeway and then heard a gunshot.

A bullet penetrated the his windshield and the left front window of his patrol car. The officer said he heard a second shot and pulled over.

A second police car chased Turgeon and Applin, who were arrested, police officer Chad Houseman testified.

He said the pair had four guns, including two revolvers, a Glock 9-mm handgun and a semi-automatic rifle with a scope.

The same night, a San Diego lingerie store had been robbed.

A model at Risque Lingerie identified Turgeon and Applin as the men who robbed her and handcuffed another model who refused to give the pair money.

The men wore wigs and Turgeon had a silver-colored gun, she testified.

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