King may have had a rough upbringing, evident by his adult aversion towards chains due to memories of being arrested in his youth. King was keen on survivalism, and collected books detailing how to survive in various disaster situations. Along with this King also developed skills in repairing firearms and had knowledge on how to use ordinary tools as weapons to the point of developing an ability to assess their practicality before using them.
When a strain of t-Virus contaminated Raccoon City's water supply in September 1998, King ignored the efforts of the Raccoon Police Department and Army to defend and evacuate the city as rioting began. He became aware of the true scope of the disaster while at Jack's Bar on Thursday 24 September, when a bar worker was mauled by a rioter displaying symptoms of Cannibal Disease. What is known of King's actions over the following week is uncertain, as the occupants of the bar are believed to have gone their separate ways. What is known is that by the early hours of Thursday 1 October King was aiding Dr. Carter in recovering the experimental antiretroviral drug AT1521 from the Umbrella R&D Center. This endeavor failed when the sample was destroyed by a renegade B.O.W., Tyrant R. King was however able to evacuate a second Umbrella researcher, Dr. Linda Baldwin, who was familiar with the research. Whether they escaped via a U.S.S. Chinook or by a commandeered Army truck is uncertain.