An 18-year-old “good Samaritan” trying to help an injured man into his home on New Year’s Eve was shot to death by the man’s frightened son, Pierce County sheriff’s deputies said.
Detective Terry Wilson identified the dead man as Christopher Blake West of Key Center.
Wilson said that about 10 p.m. Saturday, West and two friends came upon a single-car accident on the Key Peninsula, west of Tacoma.
The man in the car was injured and the trio offered to call for help, but the man instead asked to be taken to his home about four miles away, the detective said.
The man’s trailer home is in a new, poorly lit portion of a housing development off Washington 302 about 10 miles south of Purdy, Wilson said.
Inside the house was the man’s 13-year-old son.
Wilson said the boy became frightened and dialed 911 when he saw a group of men drive up in a strange vehicle and walk onto the trailer’s deck.
When the men began rattling the door, the boy dropped the phone, went into his father’s bedroom and loaded a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle.
Wilson said the boy’s father apparently had left his house keys in his vehicle, and for some unknown reason, apparently told the three men no one was home. When the door wouldn’t open, he told the men to break a window, Wilson said.
West picked up a large ice chest from the deck and hurled it through a kitchen window, sending glass flying all over the room, Wilson said.
As the boy stood in the doorway of his father’s bedroom, about 12 feet away, West began climbing through the window. The boy then opened fire, striking West in the chest, face and shoulder, Wilson said.
One of the men, Dan Wehmeier, told Seattle’s KIRO television that bullets “flew past me and then Chris made a sound. I thought we were all off the deck and safe, and then I looked back and Chris was just laying there.
“He was just trying to help somebody. He didn’t know anything was going to happen. I feel sorry for him, that he died that way.”
Wilson said he did not contemplate filing charges against the boy.