More details emerged Sunday in the bizarre shooting death of renowned local sound engineer Tom Pfaeffle.
Pfaeffle, 49, who had worked with music groups that include Nirvana, The Black Crowes and Heart, owned and operated The Tank, a recording studio adjacent to his home in the woods of Black Diamond. He also worked as an instructor at the Art Institute of Seattle, teaching audio production.
He is survived by a wife and four children.
Pfaeffle was killed Friday at the Blue Spruce Motel in Twisp. Twisp Police Chief Rick Balam said Pfaeffle and his wife were in town to attend a birthday party when it appeared the couple inadvertently returned to the wrong room at about 10:40 p.m.
Pfaeffle apparently was trying to put his key into Unit 7 when a man inside shot at him, the chief said.
Pfaeffle and his wife managed to retreat and take cover behind a car in the parking lot, Balam said. Emergency crews later took Pfaeffle to the Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak, where he died about two hours after the shooting.
Balam said the shooter also fired a bullet that nearly hit a man in adjacent Unit 6. That bullet tore through the wall and a mirror.
A man in his late 70s was lying on his bed at the time, reading a newspaper with the television on, the police chief said. He was injured from falling debris, suffering a black eye
When Balam arrived, he was able to speak to the suspect, a 57-year-old Seattle man, by phoning him from the manager's office. Balam said he was quickly able to persuade the man to leave his unit and surrender.
The man is to be arraigned today on charges of second-degree murder and assault.
Balam said the man could not reasonably argue he was defending himself against potential intruders: "He had a total disregard for human safety," Balam said. "It's just crazy."
Family friend and Art Institute colleague Jim Rivers said Pfaeffle's wife told him it took nearly two hours for an ambulance to arrive at the remote town and get Pfaeffle to Omak
. Rivers said Pfaeffle was conscious and talking the whole time.
Rivers said his understanding is that one bullet struck Pfaeffle in the arm, the other in his kidney and liver. Omak hospital staff were preparing to airlift Pfaeffle to Spokane or Seattle when he died, Rivers said, apparently due to the amount of blood he'd lost.
"He was one of the most honest, caring guys I know," Rivers said. "He was a great dad. You just can't believe that this happened to him."
Steve Barsotti, the academic director of the Art Institute's audio program, said Pfaeffle was an intense, driven man who essentially worked two full-time jobs.
"He had the utmost respect from all of his students," Barsotti said. "He earned his respect day to day, in the way he treated his students, his complete control over the content of the program and his professionalism."
Barsotti said Pfaeffle also was a great cook who loved to make sushi. He would sometimes unwind by playing guitar.
"He never sat still," Barsotti said. "He never stopped learning."