A 15-year-old Kenmore boy apparently told classmates at Inglemoor High School of his plan to hold a store clerk at knife point to steal vape pens and juice, according to King County prosecutors.

The robbery scheme didn’t go as planned. The teen ended up cutting the 52-year-old clerk’s throat and stabbing him twice in the chest before the clerk stabbed the teen in the chest and cut tendons in his hands, presumably with the same knife, say the attempted first-degree murder charges filed Wednesday. The alleged assailant and the clerk were taken to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.

The Seattle Times does not name juvenile suspects unless they are charged as adults. Under state law, 16- and 17-year-olds charged with serious violent offenses such as murder or rape can be automatically “declined” and charged as adults in superior court. For youth under age 16, what is known as a discretionary decline hearing must be held and a juvenile court judge decides whether to decline juvenile jurisdiction and have the case moved to adult court.

On the same day the boy was charged, King County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Mary Barbosa requested a decline hearing and indicated the state will seek to have the teen prosecuted as an adult, court records show.

According to the charges:

Just after 2 p.m. Monday, the teen entered Town Market at 7000 N.E. 181st St. and asked the clerk for two vapes, according to the store’s video surveillance footage. The clerk asked to see identification and when the teen couldn’t find his ID, the clerk canceled the transaction and told the teen he couldn’t sell the vapes without seeing ID.

The teen left but returned 5 minutes later and approached the counter with one hand behind his back. He told the clerk he had his ID and when the clerk asked to see it, the teen pulled out a large knife, leaned over the counter and sliced the clerk’s neck. As the clerk recoiled and yelled out in pain, the teen hurried behind the counter and advanced on the clerk, stabbing him multiple times, the charges say.


The surveillance cameras suddenly stopped recording 30 seconds into the attack and King County sheriff’s detectives would later find that the camera’s power cord had become unplugged during the struggle.

Outside the store, a woman heard the clerk scream and saw blood through the open door. Her boyfriend ran inside and saw the clerk trying to pin the teen down. A customer called 911 and the woman’s boyfriend held the teen until deputies arrived and arrested him, the charges say.

The next day, several students at Inglemoor High told the school resource officer that on Monday morning, they had heard directly from the teen — or overheard other students talking — about his plan to hold up the Town Market with a knife to steal vape pens and juice, according to the charges.

The clerk was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday, said Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg. The teen, who court records say is being guarded, remains in satisfactory condition, she said.