Man arrested, charged for Moclips shooting as police search for suspect’s son

The suspect surrendered himself peacefully to police in Seattle.

A Grays Harbor man was arrested in connection with the Monday shooting death of a 59-year-old Moclips man after surrendering himself in Seattle.

Rufus A. Phelps III turned himself into law enforcement Wednesday afternoon and was transported to Grays Harbor County Jail, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Law enforcement personnel are searching for Phelps’ son, Rufus A. Phelps IV, said Undersheriff Brad Johansson.

“The investigation is ongoing. We’re looking for the son,” Johansson said in a phone interview. “We’d love to talk to him.”

The incident sprang from a dispute over property in Moclips that had been sold to the victim, Johansson said.

“It used to be family property, and the subject was upset it was sold,” Johansson said.

The elder Phelps is being charged with 1st-degree murder, 2nd-degree assault, and unlawful possession of a firearm, according to the news release. The younger Phelps is wanted as an accomplice to these charges, according to the news release. Johansson said he hoped the situation with the younger Phelps can be resolved equally peacefully.

Anyone with information on the younger Phelps’ current whereabouts is asked to call 911, according to the news release. Anyone that may have information is asked to call the nonemergency line at 360-533-8765 or email at

Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or