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Wednesday, January 12, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Witness recounts scene of movie-theater shooting

Seattle Times South bureau

KENT - He had interrupted the movie with lewd comments about the actress, Julie Walker recalled. Then Craig Kubeck's disruptive behavior escalated, and the next thing Walker knew she heard a shot and saw Kubeck with a gun in his hand and Kelvin Kirkpatrick bleeding.

Yesterday - in the second day of testimony in Kubeck's attempted-murder trial in King County Superior Court - Walker recalled panicked movie-goers, who tried to flee the Renton theater.

"There was absolute panic everywhere . . . people were screaming, running," Walker said.

Kubeck, 34, listened quietly. His attorney admits Kubeck's behavior during the movie was obnoxious, but says he later acted in self-defense.

The March 6 incident at the East Valley 13 Cinemas on East Valley Road began, witnesses say, when Kubeck made loud, rude comments during the showing of "Analyze This" and was asked by several people in the theater to be quiet.

Kirkpatrick, a 29-year-old ex-Marine, complained to theater managers but they took no action. When Kubeck continued to disrupt, Kirkpatrick and his wife got up to leave. Kubeck and his friend also got up.

Kubeck's girlfriend tried to slap Kirkpatrick's wife, Walker said.

"Then it appeared they were all leaving," she said. ". . . then I saw the curtain moving and heard more noises, then a gunshot." But there are two versions of what happened after the four left their seats.

Kubeck's attorney, Veronica Freitas, said Kirkpatrick confronted Kubeck near the hallway and struck him several times.

Deputy Prosecutor Scott Marlow contends it was Kubeck who attacked Kirkpatrick, from behind, and that Kirkpatrick wrestled him to the floor.

During the struggle, Kubeck shot Kirkpatrick in the abdomen. Court documents say Kubeck then pulled back the hammer of the snub-nose revolver and aimed at Kirkpatrick's head. Kirkpatrick jammed his thumb between the hammer and the firing pin, preventing the second shot.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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