Crime

Car racer shot before crashing into tree

BATTLE GROUND, Wash. (KOIN) -- What appeared to be a death from a street racing incident has turned into a homicide investigation since the Washington State Patrol announced the 29-year-old who died at the scene had been shot.

The high-speed crash on SR-503 happened around 1:45 a.m. June 9, WSP Trooper Will Finn said. Initially it appeared the 2 racing cars collided, which caused one car to veer off and hit a tree across from the entrance to Prairie High School on NE 119th.

The driver of that car, Ariel Romano, died at the scene. Investigators determined he had been shot at some point during the incident, Finn said.

Romano, who was a father to a 5-year-old girl, was engaged to Lina Veselkov.

She told KOIN 6 News that Romano was the love of her life -- adding that they were always laughing when they were together.

"He loved me so much," Veselkov said. "He was my soulmate. He's my best friend, my rock, my love of my life. He was always there for me, always."

Veselkov said they had plans to get married this summer. 

She also said she has no idea who would do this to her fiancé and hopes whoever is responsible is caught.

A witness told WSP investigators the other car, a dark-colored sedan with four doors, stopped for a moment before fleeing. Other witnesses said that sedan turned west onto NE 99th.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Jen Ortiz at 360.449.7948, Detective Justin Maier at 360.449.7943 or Detective Dave Ortner at 360.449.7942.

KOIN 6 News Digital Content Producer Jordan Aleck contributed to this report 


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