Man who shot his ex outside of Toppenish casino had long history of domestic assault

The suspect, who was known to Yakima County authorities, was killed by deputies after a violent altercation in Idaho.

A 41-year-old man accused of recently shooting his ex-girlfriend at Legends Casino in Toppenish was fatally shot by Idaho sheriff’s deputies after he fired his gun at them, led them on a high-speed chase across counties and pulled a gun on them a second time.

Buddy McKenzie, 41, was previously charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and illegally possessing a firearm after police said he shot a 37-year-old woman in the stomach and head on Oct. 4 in the Legends Casino parking lot.

According to court documents, McKenzie and the woman had been living together in an apartment in the Tri-Cities, but she recently broke things off and asked him to move out.

Yakima County sheriff’s spokesperson Casey Schilperoort said investigators believe McKenzie shot his ex-girlfriend outside of the casino because he was upset over their break-up. He confirmed that the victim has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

RELATED: Woman in critical condition after shooting at Legends Casino, investigators searching for suspect

Deputies confirmed that McKenzie was the shooter by looking through the casino’s security footage. A nationwide warrant was issued for his arrest with a reward of $750,000, but deputies were unable to locate him until they got a call that McKenzie had been found more than 600 miles away in southern Idaho.

Schilperoort said on Wednesday afternoon, McKenzie fired several gunshots at law enforcement officers in Caribou County, Idaho and fled in a small, white pickup truck. The high-speed chase continued for about 20 minutes and through into nearby Bannock County.

Law enforcement officers were able to use spikes to deflate the truck’s tires and the vehicle eventually came to a stop on Highway 30 near the exit to McCammon. Schilperoort said McKenzie got out of the truck, pulled out a pistol and pointed it at deputies.

“After a lethal threat from the suspect, law enforcement was forced to fire their weapons,” Bannock County sheriff’s deputies said in a news release. “The suspect was pronounced deceased on scene. Officers involved were not physically injured.”

Schilperoort said with McKenzie now deceased, their investigation into the shooting outside the casino will be closed once investigators receive further information about the incident in Idaho.

The Southeastern Idaho Critical Incident Team is investigating the officer-involved shooting near McCammon in Bannock County.

RELATED: Suspect in Legends Casino shooting killed by deputies in Idaho

A search of Mckenzie’s criminal history in Yakima County Superior Court did not turn up other incidents of violence or protection orders involving the 37-year-old woman but did include criminal charges involving a second woman in 2009 and petitions for protection orders from a third woman in 2001.

“He is no stranger to Yakima County law enforcement or the Washington State Department of Corrections,” Schilperoort said.

In early 2001, a woman tried to get a protection order against McKenzie at least three times after their relationship ended.  In one petition — which was eventually dismissed due to “insufficient evidence” — the woman said, “He threatened to break my teeth. He choked me. Held a utility knife to me. Has threatened to take my son away from me and leave with him.”

Court documents detail several domestic violence-related incidents against another woman in the summer and early fall of 2009, after her relationship with McKenzie had ended.

In May 2009, the woman dropped her kids off at school and returned to her car to find McKenzie sitting in the passenger seat.  According to court documents, he refused to leave and started verbally abusing her when she began to drive.

“Mckenzie used his foot to press the accelerator and grabbed the steering wheel from the passenger seat,” court documents said. “McKenzie attempted to crash the vehicle and [the woman] struggled to regain control.”

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Police said that when McKenzie told the woman to drive him to Outlook and she refused, he said he was going to kill her. He punched her in the head and held her down so she couldn’t get out of the vehicle.

According to court documents, someone driving by saw the assault and called 911. When McKenzie saw a police car catching up to them, he reportedly told the woman, “You better say this wasn’t a DV or I’ll kill you.”

McKenzie was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to domestic violence unlawful imprisonment and domestic violence felony harassment. However, he faced additional charges after his arrest for violating a no-contact order and intimidating a witness.

Court documents show McKenzie called the woman from the Yakima County jail over 120 times in less than two weeks, despite the no-contact order in place between them. He also reportedly sent family members to her house to try and get her to change her story about the assault in the vehicle.

The woman contacted police several more times in the months after the incident to report McKenzie for continually violating the no-contact order, harassing her and threatening to kill her, according to court documents.

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