Update 4/23/19 – Police say Kainth admitted to shooting self-storage manager Jered Sperling before abandoning the stolen vehicle. Though the suspect claimed he shot Sperling with a gun he found in the center console of the pickup truck, investigators believe he already had a stolen firearm in his possession and likely used that weapon on the victim. Kainth also told police he was high at the time of the incident, according to the source.
Kainth is being held on suspicion of second-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and theft of a motor vehicle. He’s scheduled to appear in court on Friday. Bail was set at $1 million.
Additional details of the carjacking have also been reported. Sperling was apparently speaking with customers a few feet away from his truck when Kainth allegedly jumped in to steal it, the source reported.
Kainth twice has been convicted of possession of a stolen vehicle in King County, Wash., in 2016 and 2017. He was charged with the same crime again in December. A bench warrant was issued in March after he failed to report to community corrections as a condition of his release. He’s been under the supervision of the Department of Corrections since September 2017, according to the source.
4/18/19 – Jered Sperling, a manager at Kent East Hill Self Storage in Kent, Wash., was killed earlier this week when his truck was stolen from the facility at 10625 S.E. 240th St. Police have arrested Gurkeerat Kainth, 23, on charges of investigation of homicide, vehicle theft and unlawful possession of a firearm. Although a second person of interest was identified, he’s no longer a suspect, according to a source.
The victim’s wife, Cynthia Sperling, who co-managed the facility with Jered, was notified about the carjacking by a tenant who saw events unfold on Monday just after 8 p.m. She immediately reported it to the police.
Jered Sperling, 38, was entering the facility in his pickup when he stopped at the gate and exited the vehicle. The suspect leapt into the truck and attempted to flee. In an effort to stop the theft, Jered Sperling jumped into the truck bed, and the suspect left the premises with him in tow, Cynthia Sperling shared on Facebook.
After releasing photos of the suspects the next morning, police received a tip that the vehicle was in a parking lot at Cascade Homes, a subsidized housing complex at 20600 106th Ave., according to Kent Police Assistant Chief Jarod Kasner. Sperling’s body was discovered in the back. Although an official cause of death has yet to be released and the investigation is ongoing, several news outlets are reporting that Sperling was shot.
The couple didn’t know the suspect or the other person of interest, according to investigators, who believe it was a random crime of opportunity.
“He was one of the best managers I know. He was bright, funny, outgoing and a loving husband and great friend! It is a devastating tragedy and a great loss to all that knew him and loved him,” said Pamela Alton, owner of Mini-Management Services, a manager-placement service for the self-storage industry. Alton arranged the Kent East Hill post for the Sperlings in August 2017, and the couple relocated from Lodi, Calif. “We are all still in shock and shaking our heads in disbelief. What is wrong with people today to think a vehicle or personal possession is worth a man's life? Just so sad.”
Sperling’s family launched a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral costs and other expenses. They also released a statement:
“Jered was a transplant from California who fell in love with the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. He only wanted the best for each and every person. He worked tirelessly to make a difference in this neighborhood and took great pride in his job and life. He was a loving, happy and helping husband, brother, son and friend. We ask at this time that you take a moment to love those close to you. We will be cherishing our Jered and the passionate, beautiful man he was. Please respect our family's privacy as we grieve.”
Kent East Hill is part of the Sound Self Storage portfolio, which also includes Century Square Self-Storage in Federal Way, Wash., Sunset Highway Self Storage in Renton, Wash., and Totem Lake West Self Storage in Kirkland, Wash. In addition to offering traditional and vehicle self-storage, the properties sell moving and packing supplies.
The Seattle Times, Kent Police Say Victim of Deadly Carjacking Was Shot With Stolen Firearm
Herald.net, Kent Police Arrest Suspect in Carjacking, Killing
Komo News, Pickup Owner Found Dead After Violent Carjacking in Kent, Police Look for Two Men
Q13 Fox, Arrest Made in Deadly Carjacking in Kent
Kiro 7, Police Make Arrest in Fatal Carjacking of Kent Man