MOUNT VERNON — Christian Manuel Flores, the man accused of shooting to death another man outside a Burlington mini-mart last week, made his first court appearance Thursday in Skagit County Superior Court.
Flores is charged with one count of premeditated first-degree murder with a firearm enhancement for allegedly killing 23-year-old Douglas J. Gunter of La Conner on Dec. 6 outside the Skagit Big Mini Mart.
Flores, who fled the scene, was arrested Wednesday when a Mount Vernon police officer stopped what he determined was a suspicious person at Hillcrest Park about 12:30 p.m., according to court documents.
Flores allegedly provided the officer with a false name, but the officer recognized him as Flores.
Flores didn’t speak during Thursday’s short hearing — not even acknowledging his name — although he did look around the courtroom, which was filled with family and friends of Gunter.
“He’s my angel,” Gunter’s father, Jimmie Gunter, said after the hearing.
Jimmie Gunter said he was shocked and angered by Flores’ actions inside the courtroom and on the day he allegedly killed Gunter, calling him “cold hearted.”
“He took an innocent boy,” Jimmie Gunter said, adding that Doug Gunter — who liked to be called Dougie — was “my only son, my best friend, my everything.”
The Skagit County Coroner’s Office determined Wednesday that Gunter died of multiple gunshot wounds.
“That’s what that kid (Flores) did was take away someone we all loved,” said Doug Gunter’s brother, Jose Aguilar. “This Christmas, we’re not going to have him.”
Flores is being held in the Skagit County Community Justice Center on $2 million bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 20.
Gunter’s family will be there too, Aguilar said.
“In honor of Dougie, we’re going to make sure we’re at all the hearings,” he said. “We’re going to do whatever we’ve got to do to make sure Dougie rests in peace.”