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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

15-year-old boy shot and killed at Spokane Valley apartment complex

UPDATED: Tue., March 30, 2021

A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed outside an apartment in Spokane Valley late Monday night.

Spokane Valley Sheriff’s deputies were called to a housing complex in the 9700 block of East Sixth Avenue after reports of multiple gunshots at about 10:50 p.m., according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies found the boy with life-threatening gunshot wounds and provided medical aid, the sheriff’s office said. Spokane Valley firefighters and American Medical Response ambulance medics arrived but the victim died at the scene shortly after.

Deputies said a K-9 unit, helicopter and major crimes detectives were called to assist.

Jill Kennedy, a resident of a nearby apartment complex, said she heard a “big boom” that sounded like a shotgun or another large gun go off about three times late Monday night.

The sound scared her dog, Butters, Kennedy recalled.

The neighborhood in Spokane Valley where Kennedy lives and the shooting occurred has low-income apartment complexes along with houses and other apartment buildings.

“Generally, it’s a safe neighborhood,” Kennedy said. “These are good families.”

Kennedy said she lived in low-income housing when her two sons were young, and the complex where the shooting took place seems to be well managed.

“As low-income housing for families goes, this is one of the best I’ve seen,” Kennedy said.

Initial information indicates the victim went outside to meet someone or a few people and was shot, according to the sheriff’s office. Witnesses told deputies they saw a person wearing dark clothes running from the scene.

Detectives said they believe the victim knew the shooter or shooters and that the victim may have been involved in an ongoing conflict with several individuals.

By midmorning Tuesday, investigators had obtained a search warrant for another apartment in the complex, said tenant Joni Martin.

As children walked to the bus stop with their backpacks, a forensic unit vehicle pulled off to the side of the road.

Martin said at about 8 a.m. Tuesday police had called her and asked her to step outside her apartment at the Woodruff Heights complex, where she lives with her boyfriend and their five children.

The police told Martin they wanted to talk to her 15-year-old stepson, but when they stepped outside, police handcuffed him and took him to the Spokane Valley Police Precinct, she said.

“He was crying and in tears,” Martin said. “He was scared. He didn’t know what was going on.”

Late Monday night, Martin said they heard gunshots and then sirens. She peeked out the back sliding glass door of the apartment to see medics treating a young boy, whom she recognized as one of her son’s friends from the neighborhood.

Martin said the boy had just been over at her apartment a few days prior playing video games with her son and that the boys had no issues between them.

Her stepson had some trouble over the last year, Martin said, getting stabbed last summer while out chopping wood with friends.

“It’s the second time he’s had to go through this and it’s not right,” Martin said of her stepson being questioned by police. “It’s not fair to him.”

After her stepson was detained, Martin said police began searching the apartment.

“I don’t even know what they’re looking for because there’s no weapons in my house,” Martin said.

Just before 10 a.m., investigators told Martin she could go pick up her stepson at the precinct.

After Martin left to pick up her stepson, her husband got into a confrontation with the uncle of the boy who died.

The uncle was smoking a cigarette and watching investigators search the apartment while Martin’s husband was wrapped in a blanket and pacing.

The two began yelling at each other and the uncle yelled a slur before investigators separated the two men.

No arrests had been made as of Tuesday morning.

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