King County prosecutors say the victim, 16, was killed because the gunman believed he had stolen from him.
Dallas Esparza, 16, was sitting with his mother at a picnic table next to a taco truck in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood in February when they were approached by up to eight people, prompting him to get up and run away, according to King County prosecutors.
Esparza ran by a 27 year-old man, later identified as Juan Jose Macias, who pulled out a gun and shot Esparza four times, prosecutors say. Esparza’s mother and other bystanders ran to the teen and provided medical aid until the first police officers arrived at the scene.
Esparza died Feb. 12 at Harborview Medical Center, five days after he had been shot.
Macias, who was wanted on a $250,000 warrant for allegedly putting a gun in his girlfriend’s mouth in January and choking her into unconsciousness in June, was arrested on the warrant on July 7 in the same block where Esparaza was shot, court records show. On Wednesday, he was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with Esparza’s slaying.
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Sometime after her son was shot in the 8800 block of 14th Avenue South, Esparza’s mother received a call from a stranger who wanted to remain anonymous because the caller feared retaliation from Macias and his associates, charging papers say. That person provided Macias’ name to Esparza’s mother and identified him as the shooter, the charges say. She then passed on the information to detectives.
According to Seattle police, other witnesses reported that Macias had said he had shot Esparza. Macias apparently believed Esparza had stolen from him on New Year’s Eve, but the charges don’t offer details.
The Feb. 7 shooting and the gunman’s flight from the scene were captured by video-surveillance cameras at a gas station and other nearby businesses, charging papers say. The shooter was seen on video running into the apartment complex where Macias lives, less than two blocks from where Esparza was shot, the charges say.
Macias remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail on the first-degree murder charge and $250,000 bail on two counts of second-degree assault domestic violence for the alleged attacks on his girlfriend, jail and court records show.