Suspect in Virginia murder-suicide had minor offenses on Island

Police and court documents obtained last week show that a former Islander suspected of killing his wife and himself in Virginia late last month had been in trouble with Mercer Island police in the past.

Robert K. Hui, 22, was arrested for possessing marijuana and attempting to buy alcohol at the Roanoke Tavern with a fake ID during his senior year in 2004. He was also cited in a hit and run accident. Court records show that a third incident occurred in March 2005, but those records were not available by press time.

Virginia police suspect Hui, a 2004 MIHS graduate, of shooting and killing his 19-year-old wife before shooting a Virginia police officer and later himself during the night of Tuesday, Sept. 22. Hui’s wife, Sarah Tredop, was a 2007 MIHS graduate. After Hui allegedly shot an Alexandria City, Va., police officer during a traffic stop on a Virginia freeway, he was found two miles down the road in his Lexus SUV with a gunshot to the head. Police then went to notify Tredop at the couple’s apartment and found her body in a closet behind a bullet-riddled door. Police suspect that Hui shot Tredop earlier that day or the day before, but do not yet have a definitive motive for her killing. Police believe it involved domestic troubles and are investigating Tredop’s death separately from the officer’s shooting because they do not want to assume that Hui killed Tredop, despite the logical connection.

According to news reports in Virginia, police responded to a domestic disturbance call to the couple’s apartment a few weeks before the shooting took place and detained Tredop. Reports also stated that Tredop was detained for a mental health evaluation a week before the shooting.

On Mercer Island, friends, teachers and colleagues held a memorial last week at the Crest Learning Center near the high school in remembrance of the young couple. A video on MySpace shows a nighttime group vigil, where one student releases two balloons in the air as a tribute to the former Islanders.

Court records show that Hui was not a U.S. citizen and was seeking naturalization status. According to Tredop’s MySpace page, she also was not a U.S. citizen. Court and county property records show that Hui owned a waterfront condo valued at $720,000 in Seattle, which he bought in June of 2005.

The three incidents in which Hui was in trouble with Island police all occurred during his senior year of high school and the months after he graduated. The first took place in February of 2004, when Hui and a friend attempted to patronize the Roanoke as minors with fake identification. Minors are not allowed in the Roanoke, regardless of time of day. Hui and his friend went to the bar around 2:15 p.m. and were carded by an employee, who found their IDs to be suspect and discovered that they were phony. Yelling profanity at the employees, they left the bar and headed to another — the Islander. The owner of the Roanoke was concerned and later called the Islander to inform a manager of the incident, according to the police report. Police were called and the two were arrested. When Hui was sentenced, he was ordered to pay $400 in fines, stay out of trouble and not drink alcohol for a year, and complete drug and alcohol treatment. However, Hui found himself in trouble with the law again two months later.

On April 8, 2004, Hui was in a hit-and-run accident that involved minor property damage to an Island home’s mailbox near the high school. He was later charged with a hit-and-run and received a second charge of negligent driving. According to the police reports, Hui crashed his white 2003 Chevy Cavalier sedan into a mailbox in the 4000 block of 86th Avenue S.E. near the high school around 3:25 p.m. and did not leave a note or report it. The police report states that Hui was attempting to pass a car. Witnesses said they watched him flee the scene after the accident. That September, he was ordered to stay out of trouble and not drink for a year, and pay $100. He also had to return for a follow-up hearing in four months.

Hui completed the required alcohol treatment through Pacific Northwest Treatment Services in Bellevue on Sept. 25, 2004. But two months later, he was in trouble again.

On Nov. 10, 2004, Hui was arrested for possessing and admittedly smoking marijuana. A police report states that while driving around 7:20 p.m., Hui cut off a Mercer Island officer while turning from S.E. 29th Street onto 78th Avenue S.E. The officer wrote a report of the incident: Hui was at a stop sign in his white Chevy Cavalier when he pulled in front of the officer driving down the road but did not have a stop sign at the intersection. The officer noticed that the license plate light was out on Hui’s car and pulled him over. In his report, the officer wrote he could smell burnt marijuana. Hui was arrested for the marijuana charges and issued two tickets for failing to yield and having a defective light. Hui pled guilty to possession in October of 2005 and was sentenced to one day in jail.

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