42-year-old Tejuan Thomas runs All Star Tattoos and Piercings, out of a basement studio in a mixed-use apartment building in Seattle.
Grendahl was a building resident.
According to Seattle police and prosecutors, the tattoo artist believed Todd Grendahl, 55, was breaking into a vending machine. Taking justice into his own hands, Thomas then clobbered Grendahl.
Court records show that a little after 10:30 pm on a Tuesday, a Seattle police officer was taking an unrelated burglary report, where the cop was approached by Thomas.
Thomas told the officer that he had confronted a man trying to break into a snack machine and that the man ended up tripping and falling on his head.
Moments later, Grendahl, with blood running down his face, turned the corner. Pointing at Thomas, he told the officer, “That guy hit me in the head for no reason.”
Grendahl told he officer he was buying sodas and was hit from behind. The court records note that the officer’s body-worn camera shows Grendahl had loose change in his hand.
Thomas and Grendahl began yelling at each other, and the officer had to call for backup.
Seattle Fire Department medics treated Grendahl at the scene, but he declined to go to the hospital, the charges say.
Three hours later, a friend of Grendahl’s called 911 “because Grendahl was behaving erratically” and the friend was worried about the head trauma Grendahl had suffered. The original officer on the scene was called back to the apartment building.
Then, Grendahl underwent emergency surgery for severe swelling and bleeding in his brain. However, he never regained consciousness.
Grendahl died four days later at Virginia Mason Hospital.
The tattoo artist was charged with second-degree murder.
Detectives obtained video-surveillance footage that showed the assault on Grendahl:
“These files show a person resembling and matching Tejuan Thomas’ physical description, features, clothing, earlobe gauges, and tattoos, striking Grendahl on the right side of his head with an unknown object from behind as Grendahl walked unsuspectingly down the hallway, away from the vending machine,” the charges say. “The strike to Grendahl’s head was so sudden and severe that the impact violently jerked Grendahl’s head and body in the opposite direction, causing him to fall to the floor.”
While Thomas doesn’t have a recorded criminal history, he was arrested and booked into the King County Jail.
Initially Thomas’ bail was held on $200,000 bail, but has since been increased to $2 million.