TRI-CITIES, WA – Aaron Christopher Kelly, a name familiar to many Tri-Citians since Monday’s deadly shooting. However, this name has been familiar to a few Tri-Cities residents who have had bad experiences with the suspected shooter for years.
“I wasn’t surprised by what he did. But I am surprised the victims were women. He stalks women. Especially young girls.” said Bryant Scott, Kelly’s former roommate, and landlord.
Scott said as someone who lived with him for years and had private investigators investigate his background, he knows Kelly and his scare tactics very well.
“Aaron will project, he will lie, he will manipulate. He will try to make it seem like he’s a victim – or whatever he has to say because he has researched the system. He knows exactly what he is doing and how he wants this to end. Do not be fooled by him.” said Scott.
Scott met Kelly when Scott first came out of the U.S. Marines. He was recovering from a traumatic brain injury and learning to walk again.
“I bought a house and started renting out the room to make some extra cash since I didn’t have a job due to my injury,” said Scott.
That’s what lead Scott to rent out his room through Airbnb. “It’s extra cash to help pay for my mortgage,” he added.
Scott met Kelly as a renter. Aaron Kelly would be traveling between Oregon and Coeur D’Alene, traveling constantly along the I-90. But then he started staying for weeks at a time over a period of months.
“He was just renting a room for me. Then days would turn to weeks. Then I get a text one day from him that made my stomach turn, saying ‘I took the liberty of having my mail delivered to your house – when is a good time to pick it up?” remembered Scott.
“I thought maybe he is down on his luck, but now I know that he knew I was that type of person to help him out and used it to his advantage,” said Scott.
“That’s the kind of guy he is. He seems sweet and charming at first in order to manipulate you and get what he wants. And I was an injured veteran just trying to make ends meet.” said Scott.
Years later, Scott’s attorney told him that when Kelly did that, he was establishing residency at Bryant’s home.
Bryant described Kelly as quiet and weird but didn’t notice too much, since it was a house full of guys at the time just minding their own business.
“He then told me ‘It’d be a good idea for me to just pay you up front in cahs and cut out the Airbnb altogether. Now I know that when that happened, he cut out the safety net of using Airbnb because Airbnb would have protected me if he was doing bad things. But I wasn’t thinking of all that because I was still healing from my traumatic brain injury and had the capacity of almost a teenage boy.” said Smith. “But that’s why he did this because he knew he could. He exploited an injured veteran who was down o his luck trying to be a nice guy.”
Kelly was in the home for about a year, paying rent month to month. Kelly would never put his food in the fridge and his room was completely sealed. It seemed like his car was always parked up front ready to flee.
Once women moved into the house, they knew Kelly exhibited red flags.
Hailey and prior partner of Scott, Danny, said he was weird and off and made them feel uncomfortable.
Smith got a background check on him where he discovered Kelly lied about his age and lied about where he was from. He did not have two masters degree from the University of Texas (as Kelly first stated),” He has a Bachelors from English from Texas Christian which is why he speaks so eloquently.” said Scott. “And he is not 28 like he first told me, the private investigator found out he was 38.”
Scott also stated that Kelly has been in all the rooms and has a history of stealing their stuff.
It was then that Scott told him to leave and Kelly changed drastically. “I have been an upstanding citizen and did nothing wrong,” said Kelly. He kept looking around, looking at the windows.
“What are you looking around for?” asked Smith.
“What are you talking about?” said Kelly. “It’s you that’s looking around!”
That began what Scott calls “the year of terror.”
However, because of the eviction moratorium, Scott could not evict Kelly.
Kelly used the next year and 4 months to harass Scott and his other roommates by either patronizing them saying ‘am I making you uncomfortable?’, teasing them, staring at them while they were eating, and
Scott added he believes Kelly was poising his dogs.
Kelly would leave at odd hours of the night and wouldn’t be back until 2-4 in the morning. “This was during the fires and lockdowns. Everything is closed and we would wonder, where is he going while wearing a mask and covering his face? VEen in the middle of snowstorms he would go out like that.” said Scott.
Scott remembers Kelly would get close to the women and walk around with his pistol in the house.
“He’ll stake out places. He’ll watch to see when people aren’t home. He’d watch us. He knew our habits. He knew when I’d get up for work. He’d walk out of his room and follow me around the house and follow me to the kitchen and just stand there and watch me.” said Scott. “He did this to the women too. And I remember times where he would sit out on our front yard and watch the kids play.”
In 2020, Scott tried to file a harassment claim and get a restraining order, both denied by a judge.
“I tried to warn people. I went to the judge. And he wouldn’t listen.” said Scott.
Scott also called the police on Kelly numerous times.
“But they would basically just catch and release him. I’ve had people tell me he’d break into their cars. And the cops would catch him and release him the next day and not press any charges. This made him bolder in his crimes.” said Scott.
Scott talked to a lawyer and put cameras in his home.
“Aaron would walk into the kitchen and just stare at the cameras – knowing I was watching him on my phone and he would just stare at me and taunt me.
And he knew I couldn’t do anything about,” said Scott.
“Aaron also started walking around at night with military pants and a ski mask,” said Scott.
Things started to get scarier to the point where Scott and his then girlfriend at the time would block their doors to not let Kelly come in.
“We’d take our dresser and put it in front of our door at night. And even told the judge to try to get him kicked out of my house for harassment and even tried to get his pistol taken away,” said Scott. “Aaron would literally sit in the dark and just stare at the back of our heads. And with the ladies, he would just sare at them. I caught him watching my ex-girlfriend out the window.”
According to other sources, this isn’t the only time Kelly watched people.
A local gym who wishes to remain anonymous had to revoke his membership December 23, 2020 and ban Aaron Kelly from all gym locations for the safety of their members.
“He had an iPad and he had tablet videoing throughout the facility which appeared to video other members that made them uncomfortable.” said an anonymous gym employee.
The gym gave him two warnings to stop. But things escalated.
“We realized that his bag was left behind and a notebook – a spiral notebook. And the page was open and we noticed on the front it said “Kill (Name will not be stated out of safety for the person)” in all caps. There also appeared to be surveillance times or notation times of random comings and goings of people. He would document random different names talking about what time they were leaving or what time they were walking out of the bathroom.” added the gym employee.
The gym employee also stated that Kelly would visit the different gym locations on the same day within hours at a time. The other gym locations confirmed they did not see him wearing workout clothes. He usually would walk around in jeans and with a notepad.
“He’s a manipulator. He’s calculated. He plans everything out. He’s not going tell the police anything. He will pretend like he wasn’t there at the shooting. I’ve done this where ‘ve put video footage in front of him and he’s like that’s not me.” said Scott.
Scott’s attorney, told him the only way for him to evict Kelly, is to sell the home.
“In a perfect world, the harassment and restraining order would have gone through and the police could have taken him out and taken away his pistol,” said Scott. Scott tried to get Kelly’s gun removed many times.
“He is a terror wherever he goes and leaves a trail of destruction and everywhere he goes someone always ends up getting hurt. He needs to be in jails so that he doesn’t hurt anymore. ” said Scott.
A local woman, Samantha Stoecker, a friend of Justin Krumbach’s sister, created a GoFundMe for Justin and the family in light of his death, being shot at the Fred Meyer shooting and dying on scene.
His sister and Justin were really close. They are devastated.” said Stoecker.
Article Source: Fox 11