Detectives are trying to determine a motive for the shooting early Wednesday in Shoreline that left a teenage girl dead and an 18-year-old man critically wounded. Both victims are students in the Shoreline School District.

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Darrold Devaughn Edwards and his cousin Tiana Montgomery were as close as siblings, maybe closer, said Edwards’ mother.

While Edwards, 18, fought with his brothers, he rarely even quarreled with the 17-year-old Montgomery, said Sharon Banks-Lee. “He was always trying to protect her,” she said.

And it went both ways, said one of Edwards’ aunts.

“Tiana was trying to protect Darrold when she got killed,” said the aunt, who declined to give her name.

Montgomery, a Shorecrest High School student, died at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center early Wednesday morning a few hours after she and Edwards were shot in the parking lot of the Maplewood Court apartments in the 300 block of Northwest Richmond Beach Road in Shoreline.

The teens were “in or around their vehicle” when the gunfire erupted just after midnight, said Sgt. Rodney Chinnick, a spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Though wounded, Edwards tried to drive himself and Montgomery to the Shoreline police station, relatives said.

The Sheriff’s Office declined to reveal details of their investigation, but said Wednesday afternoon they had “a pretty good idea of what was going on,” according to Chinnick.

“There was an argument that escalated to a shooting,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Office provides police services to Shoreline under contract, although officers wear Shoreline uniforms and drive patrol cars marked “Shoreline police.”

“It’s not random that it happened in that parking lot,” said Edwards’ aunt.

She said the shooting may have stemmed from a dispute her nephew had with a female resident of the complex.

Edwards suffered multiple gunshot wounds but was in stable condition Wednesday afternoon at Harborview, his relatives said.

“What I want people to know is that these are good kids,” said Banks-Lee, his mother.

“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and obviously were with the wrong person.”

A resident of the complex said she heard two females arguing and then the argument turned violent. She then heard gunshots.

The resident, who didn’t want her name used, said she then heard a vehicle quickly speed off.

The shooting was reported by one of the victims, who apparently called 911 on a cellphone. Residents of the apartment complex also called 911.

According to KING-TV, the victims apparently were heading to the Shoreline Police Department after the shooting, but stopped their vehicle at 185th Street and Aurora Avenue North, where police met them.

Montgomery lived in Lake Forest Park with her grandmother, who declined to comment Wednesday afternoon.

An email was sent to parents in the Shoreline School District from Superintendent Sue Walker; Pat Hegarty, principal of Shorecrest High School; and Bill Dunbar, principal of Shorewood High School.

“This is a huge shock to our entire community,” the email reads. “We are offering counseling support as some of our students may want to seek additional help today, and in the days to come.”

Classmates said Montgomery played soccer and was in Running Start, taking classes at Shoreline Community College.

Edwards is a senior at Shorewood High School and plans to attend the University of Portland next year.

He works at the Bitter Lake Community Center, his mother said.

“These are not kids that were out partying,” said Banks-Lee. “They go to school and they go to work. This is a loss not just for our family, but for the whole community.”

Seattle Times news researchers Miyoko Wolf and Gene Balk contributed to this report.

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or cclarridge@seattletimes.com.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.