King County prosecutors say a 14-year-old Federal Way boy turned himself in to police last week and has since been charged with first-degree manslaughter, accused of shooting his best friend in the head.
The victim, also 14, was identified as Alex Gonzales by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office. He died just after midnight July 2.
The accused shooter, who told police the shooting was an accident, remains in custody at the King County Youth Detention Center in Seattle, according to prosecutors. He also was charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
The Seattle Times does not name juvenile criminal defendants unless they are charged as adults.
Gonzales was at home with his parents, older sister and girlfriend when his 14-year-old friend came over to the family’s apartment in the 32000 block of 46th Place Southwest, according to the charges. His mother invited the friend to spend the night.
Gonzales, his girlfriend, and his friend were in Gonzales’ bedroom hanging out, when the girlfriend left to use the bathroom. She then heard the gunshot and raced back to the bedroom to see Gonzales collapse to the floor, the charges say.
The father, who had been asleep in the living room, woke up and was heading to check on the kids when he heard a loud pop and saw a flash. His daughter and the two other teens came into the living room. The girlfriend was crying, and the 14-year-old boy told him to call 911, according to the charging papers. The father checked on his son but couldn’t find a pulse. When he demanded to know where the gun was, the 14-year-old refused to answer, the charges say.
The father went to wake his wife, and by the time he returned, the 14-year-old had fled the apartment, charging papers say.
Gonzales’ girlfriend later told detectives the 14-year-old had come over to the family’s apartment two days earlier and showed her and Gonzales the “pocket rocket,” believed to be a .380 caliber revolver, he claimed to have just bought for $400, according to the charges.
Detectives interviewed the 14-year-old suspect’s mother, who told them her son had a history of running away and had been associating with suspected gang members and using marijuana and other street drugs, the charges say. His mother had sent him to live with his aunt in California because of “his disruptive lifestyle,” and the 14-year-old had only recently returned to Washington.
The boy turned himself in to police three days after the shooting, and according to police, he sobbed during an interview with detectives and said the shooting was an accident, the charges say. He did not have the gun with him, and the weapon’s location is unknown.
During an autopsy, a medical examiner determined Gonzales was shot in the left side of his head, with the bullet exiting the right side of his head. The barrel of the gun was either touching his head or close to touching it when it was fired, according to the charges.