Bail has been set at $1 million for the Chehalis man accused of shooting at someone during a dispute in the 1100 block of South Market Boulevard just after 1 a.m. on Thursday.
Court documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court on Monday have revealed more information about the drive-by shooting.
The Chehalis Police Department was dispatched to the Chehalis Safeway just before 1:05 a.m. on June 12 regarding reports that a man — who was later identified as Jonathon Von Teitloff, 63, of Chehalis — had fired multiple rounds from his van after getting into an argument with a Safeway employee and two other people in front of the store.
According to statements given to police by the victims, Von Teitloff purchased beer from the Safeway and became upset at the employee who checked him out “because he didn’t believe he received the proper change.”
The employee offered him a rebate, but Von Teitloff reportedly “became angry and stated ‘vigilante justice is what this country needs, that’s what we’re going to solve this with,’” before leaving the store, according to court documents. As he exited the store, he allegedly started yelling at another man, who then reportedly backed away from Von Teitloff. The man reported seeing Von Teitloff get into his van and exit the parking lot on Washington Avenue, according to court documents. The man and his girlfriend were reportedly standing at the rear of their vehicle in the Safeway parking lot when the man saw the van stop and “he heard the sound of a handgun pistol slide.”
He then reportedly “heard seven to eight rounds being fired and could hear the bullets whizzing by him which is how he knew he was being shot at,” according to court documents.
Other witnesses at the scene provided statements supporting that a man had fired multiple rounds from a van, according to court documents.
Police found numerous .45 caliber spent casings in the area and later learned the front window to the nearby Century 21 Realty building had a bullet hole in the window. A search of the building revealed a bullet resting on a desk.
“It appeared to have traveled through the window, two walls and eventually struck an object on the desk where it came to rest,” according to court documents.
Based on tips from the community received after the Chehalis Police Department released a description and photos of the suspect that were taken from security footage, investigators soon connected Teitloff to the van where the shots were fired and identified him as the suspect.
Just after 10:45 p.m. on June 12, officers received a call from a Chehalis Safeway employee informing them that Von Teitloff had returned to the store. Officers contacted him in the parking lot and arrested him without incident, according to the Chehalis Police Department.
Officers subsequently obtained and executed a search warrant for Von Teitloff’s residence and vehicle, which revealed two firearms: a loaded shotgun in his bedroom closet and a .45 caliber handgun under the mattress in his bedroom, according to court documents.
Von Teitloff has prior convictions on his record from North Carolina prohibiting him from owning a firearm in any state.
He has since been charged with one count of drive-by shooting and two counts each of first-degree assault and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
While Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead requested the $1 million bail amount during Von Veitloff’s preliminary appearance hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Monday out of concern for community safety, Defense Attorney Rachael Tiller asked Judge Joely Yeager to reduce the bail amount to $250,000 based on Von Teiloff’s financial situation and the fact that his previous convictions are 25 to 30 years old.
“I believe that will be financially impossible for Mr. Teitloff,” she said of the $250,000 amount, “But I am asking the court for a significant reduction of the amount provided by the state.”
Yeager ultimately granted Halstead’s request for the $1 million bail, calling the allegations against Von Teitloff “probably some of the most concerning the court has ever seen in regard to a safety risk for the community.”
She specifically referenced the risk that anyone in the parking lot at the time of the shooting could have been hit by a stray bullet.
“We see it all the time in the news, people hit by stray bullets,” she said, “There could have been any number of people in that parking lot … This is a grave threat to community safety.”
If he does post bail, Von Teitloff will be required to turn over his firearms and will be prohibited from driving a vehicle.
He is additionally prohibited from returning to the Chehalis Safeway or from having any contact with the three alleged victims.
Von Teiloff’s next court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled for Thursday, June 23.