Winco parking lot stabbing was targeted attack, Edmonds police say

Commander Josh McClure briefs reporters following the stabbing in the Winco parking lot last week. (File photo by Larry Vogel)

Updated with identity of victim.

Edmonds police provided an update Thursday morning on last week’s fatal stabbing of a 37-year-old man in the Winco parking lot on Edmonds’ Highway 99.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner has identified the victim as Bret D. Northcut of Portland, Oregon.

Through further investigation and interviews, Edmonds police said that detectives have learned that the homicide was not initially an attempted carjacking as originally reported. “Instead, it was a targeted attack on the victim by the suspect — Ian S. Bramel-Allen –who only stole the white Kia Sorrento after stabbing the victim multiple times,” Edmonds police spokesperson Commander Josh McClure sasid.

Witnesses on the scene provided the license plate of the stolen vehicle to officers who first responded to the incident, McClure said. Detectives investigating the stabbing learned that the vehicle was owned by a woman staying in Edmonds around the time of the attack. “After contacting the vehicle’s owner, it was discovered that her daughter frequently used the vehicle and had been visiting her in Edmonds,” McClure said. “The daughter is an acquaintance of the homicide victim and Bramel-Allen. Investigators learned that the victim had been allowed to use the vehicle and go to Winco for food.”

According to police, a review of surveillance footage showed Bramel-Allen entering the parking lot on foot, walking over to where the victim had parked the Kia, and appearing to open a passenger-side door, finding it locked. Bramel-Allen then walked to the front of Winco and sat outside the exit. After a short time, he moved and settled behind a retail kiosk near the exit doors, out of view of people exiting the store. A few minutes later, Bramel-Allen followed a male leaving the store into the parking lot. That unknown male was wearing similar clothing as the victim. After following that man out into the parking lot and realizing it was not the victim, Bramel-Allen returned to the front of the store and again stood behind the retail kiosk.

A short time later, the victim exited the store carrying a brown grocery bag. Bramel-Allen followed him into the parking lot while keeping both hands in his sweatshirt pocket. Bramel-Allen maintained a distance of approximately 20-30 feet behind the victim as they walked.

“When the victim got within a few feet of the Kia Sorento, the car’s lights flashed, apparently unlocking,” McClure said. “Bramel-Allen then ran at the victim and attacked him. The attack continued for approximately 18 seconds before Bramel-Allen and the victim separated. The victim collapsed on the ground in the parking lot. Bramel-Allen returned to the Kia Sorento, got in the driver’s seat, and backed out of the parking spot. Bramel-Allen drove past the victim, still on the ground, before leaving the parking.”

It was apparent that the attack was not random, and Bramel-Allen appeared to have been waiting for the victim to exit the store, McClure said, adding that how Bramel-Allen found the victim at the Winco is part of the ongoing investigation.

Bramel-Allen remains under guard at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Once medically cleared, he will be booked into Snohomish County Jail for first-degree murder, first-degree robbery, and motor vehicle theft.

Anyone with information about the incident or Bramel-Allen’s whereabouts before or after the incident can contact Edmonds Police Detective Patrick Clark by email at or by calling 425-771-0285.

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