Ferndale worker among victims of Shelton slaying; suspect shoots self

The Sun News

A man who worked for a Ferndale company was among two people found dead Tuesday at a home near Shelton, north of Olympia.

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as 32-year-old Tara Abernathy of Shelton and 34-year-old Kenneth Koonrad of Montesano. Authorities said the suspect in the slayings shot and killed himself after a standoff Wednesday in Pendleton, Ore.

Deputies were sent to Abernathy’s home after she didn’t show up for work. They found Abernathy and Koonrad dead from apparent gunshot wounds.

Koonrad worked for Award Construction Inc. in Ferndale, said Robert Gammons-Reese in a message posted to The Bellingham Herald’s Facebook page.

“We, his co-workers and friends, will dearly miss him,” Gammons-Reese said. “We are grieving the loss of an employee, a good man, a great friend and a great father!”

Gammons-Reese said Koonrad worked for the company approximately five years.

The hourslong standoff Wednesday involving Pendleton police, U.S. marshals and other county, state and local departments started at about 1 p.m. at a Motel 6 in Pendleston after a car associated with the suspect was spotted, according to an Oregon State Police news release.

The Sheriff’s Office later tweeted that negotiations ended as shots were heard. Just before 9 p.m., authorities said the suspect had shot and killed himself. He was identified by the State Police as 33-year-old western Washington state resident Jared Abernathy.

The relationship between the suspect and the victims wasn’t immediately known.