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Fatal shooting of 15-year-old in Everett was retaliatory, police say

By Daisy Zavala Magaña Seattle Times

A 15-year-old boy and the suspect accused of fatally shooting him at an Everett bus stop were in rival gangs, an officer wrote in an arrest report filed in district court.

The suspect, a 21-year-old man, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail on Sunday for investigation of first-degree murder with a firearm. Police believe the 15-year-old was killed in retaliation for when the suspect was shot in March.

The Seattle Times generally does not name suspects until they are charged.

The man is accused of shooting the teenage boy multiple times Friday at a bus stop in the 7700 block of Hardeson Road while the boy waited to board a bus to Kamiak High School in Mukilteo, according to probable cause documents.

The suspect reportedly told police he was inside the car but denied being the person who shot the teen. However, investigators say they learned the suspect told people he and another person shot the 15-year-old, court papers say.

“My heart goes out to the family and friends of the 15-year-old who was tragically killed last week,” Mayor Cassie Franklin said in a statement. “It is incredibly important to me that every member of our community feels safe, especially our youth.”

Franklin stated there’s been an increase in shootings across the city and throughout the county. Public safety remains a top priority and officials are looking at new programs and community partnerships aimed at preventing and responding to youth violence.

Franklin directed the city in March to prioritize five strategies:

• Reallocate resources to create a violent crime unit that will respond to and prevent violent crimes.

• Partner with community organizations to develop and launch community violence prevention and response programs.

• Support change at all levels of government to prevent gun violence.

• Keep asking the court to issues firearm-surrender orders.

• Look at new funding sources or ways to strengthen partnerships to address violent crime.

Everett police Chief Dan Templeman promised resources to bring justice to the teen’s family. In a statement, he outlined efforts to address violence and engage youth through community events, partnerships with local organizations and a focus on prevention.

Reports have looked at risk factors that increase the propensity youth will get involved in gangs, such as poverty, isolation, adverse childhood experiences, low self-esteem, lack of positive role models and nearby gang activity. A report published by the National Institute of Justice outlines key things to address youth violence, including that law enforcement agencies look beyond only arrests and begin collaborating with public health entities, schools, and community groups to develop preventive strategies.

While some kids might believe joining a gang will offer protection from neighborhood crime and violence, those involved in gangs are more likely to become victims of violence or commit crimes, beginning a cycle of funneling in and out of the criminal justice system, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

On Friday, the 15-year-old was standing at the bus stop in front of a mobile home park on Hardeson Road shortly after 6:30 a.m. when he was shot, according to probable cause documents.

The teen was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, where he died.

The Mukilteo School District released a statement to parents Friday, confirming the death and the boy’s attendance at the school.

“We are without words about this tragic, senseless loss of a young life. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family, and to all who knew and loved them,” the statement said.

Surveillance video from a nearby business captured a driver in a Kia Soul driving down the road a few times, appearing to slow down near the bus stop when the teen was there, documents say. At one point the car goes into the mobile home park and back out. Then, the video shows, someone fires a gun at the teen.

Witnesses relayed different accounts to police, but it wasn’t immediately clear how many people were connected to the shooting, according to court documents.

People affiliated with the gang the suspect is connected to had previously made threats against the 15-year-old on social media, court documents say.

Two days before the teen was fatally shot, he was targeted and shot at in an apartment complex on 112th Street Southwest in an unincorporated area of Snohomish County, according to court documents.

On Sept 7, police arrested three juveniles in a stolen vehicle who indicated they were looking for the teen to shoot him, court documents say. The three were booked into the Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

The suspect arrested Sunday had a concealed pistol with the serial number ground off, and no concealed pistol license, documents say.

On Monday, a judge set his bail at $5 million.