Suspect in fatal assault in Olympia homeless encampment arrested after a month at large


Olympia police arrested two suspects involved in the fatal attack on a man walking in a homeless encampment who was hit fatally in the head with a baseball bat.

The incident, which occurred on February 19, has now led to the arrest of two suspects, who were in hiding from authorities for a month before they were finally arrested.

Olympia Police Department (OPD) patrols responded to reports of an injured individual, identified as Matthew Lawrence, at The Jungle, a homeless encampment located at 3201 Martin Way E.

Upon arrival, officers discovered the victim gravely injured and bleeding profusely from a head wound.

“Matthew's gaze was completely fixed, he was foaming at the mouth, unable to speak or respond to any contact and was bleeding heavily from the back of his head,” described the OPD responding officer in the police report. “Matthew was gasping for air and having a hard time breathing. Matthew was unable to communicate with me and his pupils looked dilated.”

Despite medical assistance, the victim’s injuries were severe and he was transported to St. Peter Hospital. When at the hospital, the doctors discovered that he had brain swelling and a fractured skull. He was later transported to Harborview Medical Center but passed away on March 23 due to the severity of his injuries.

Witnesses, including the woman the victim was with at the time of the incident, recounted seeing the suspect, identified as Arrin Salter, wielding a baseball bat and striking the victim on the head.

The female witness shared that the victim was walking with her, when the suspect yelled at the victim, saying, “Stay out of my yard.”

The witness told OPD that “Arrin had a bat in his right hand, and when Matthew turned around and faced Arrin, Arrin swung the bat and hit Matthew in the head, causing him to fall to the ground.”

Aside from the victim’s friend, numerous witnesses pointed at Salter as the one responsible for the deadly assault, including the suspect’s friends, several anonymous informants, and the suspect’s girlfriend Ashley Ann Marie Ybarra, who is also an accomplice to the crime for covering up for the suspect.

Ybarra was found to have deliberately misled officers at the scene, delaying medical assistance for the victim.

Ybarra also failed to give a complete report on the incident, but simply called 911 and said, “Hi, there's a kid who fell and hit his head, and he has blood spewing out of his head," but ended the call after the suspect told her to.

“Ashley also had knowledge of evidence that was used in the homicide and had knowledge of the baseball bat being removed from the scene of the crime,” OPD stated.

Further investigation, including analysis of phone transaction histories and surveillance footage, tracked the movements of the suspect and his girlfriend, who were in hiding from authorities.

They were eventually arrested on March 20 at the residence of the suspect’s mother.

During police interviews, the girlfriend disclosed that the suspect was indeed the one responsible for the assault, saying “that he (Arrin) hit the dude in the head with a baseball bat.”

When interviewed, the suspect denied having anything to do with the assault even after authorities told him that several witnesses, including his girlfriend, implicated him to the crime.

After laying all the evidence against him, the suspect was heard whispering to himself, “I’m going to prison for the rest of my life."

The suspect was then transported to Thurston County Jail for second-degree murder, including his Department of Corrections warrant for first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon.

The suspect’s girlfriend was also transported to Thurston County Jail for rendering criminal assistance in the first degree.


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  • ChuckCross

    Hats off to our police community for their persistence in solving this case.

    Saturday, April 13 Report this