Donovan Spann, 18, was killed when a gun being handled by a 17-year-old he’d known since first grade discharged at close range. The suspect was booked into the King County Youth Services Center.
A Burien high-school senior was remembered Monday as a bright light to his classmates and family after his accidental shooting death Friday by a good friend.
Donovan Spann, 18, was killed when a gun being handled by a 17-year-old he’d known since first grade discharged at close range. The suspect was booked into the King County Youth Services Center for investigation of first-degree manslaughter.
“Donovan was a delight. Just by walking into a room, he could light it up,” said Vicki Fisher, principal of Highline High School. She said Spann was finishing his last five credits at a district alternative high school, New Starts, and was on track to graduate in June.
A remembrance will be held in the gym of Highline High School for Donovan Spann at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 18. Donations are being accepted for the service at BECU Account # 3605718870.
Crisis counselors were made available at three district high schools Monday — Highline, Evergreen and New Start.
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King County sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a shooting a little after 5 p.m. Friday in the 10200 block of 23rd Court Southwest in the White Center area.
A few days earlier, the resident of the home asked the 17-year-old suspect to housesit. The homeowner said he had been burglarized recently and gave the suspect a gun, according to the sheriff’s office.
The suspect invited Spann over and said they were playing Russian roulette when the suspect fired in the direction of Spann, hitting him in the stomach, according to the sheriff’s office. The suspect quickly called 911, but medics were unable to revive him.
Spann’s family said the suspect is a longtime family friend, a youth who has been in and out of foster care and whom Spann’s mother took into their home for a time in 2014 and treated as part of the family.
Spann’s older sister, Neenah West, said the family doubts the suspect’s account that the young men were playing Russian roulette.
“I know my brother. I helped raise my brother. He would not be playing Russian roulette,” she said.
She also said the suspect would never purposefully hurt her brother.
“We feel no anger toward him. We love him; we pray for him. He’s having a hard time,” she said.
She said the family did not know whose home the young men were at, or why the homeowner would have left a gun.
West said her brother had “the brightest smile and the biggest heart. Everyone will tell you he had a lot of light and power in his smile.” She said he loved basketball and played for both Highline and Evergreen high schools.
He recently had landed a new job at Penney’s in the men’s apparel and shoe department and was planning to move into his first apartment this weekend.
“He was just establishing his independent life,” she said.
She said Spann was devoted to his seven nieces and nephews.
“He was the cool uncle, the fun uncle. He was their hero,” she said.