A felon, who police say fatally shot a 12-year-old boy in Skyway after mistaking him for someone else, was charged with first-degree murder Thursday.
For seven weeks, Ayanna Brown has been aching for authorities to find the person who killed her 12-year-old son as he walked home. It appeared initially he was a random victim, caught in the crossfire of a gunfight.
Now, a felon has been charged with the crime and the family has learned this was no accident.
“We’ve got a lot of mixed emotion right now,” Brown, of Skyway, said, during a brief phone conversation.
Curtis Walker, 35, was charged Thursday with first-degree murder.
Most Read Local Stories
- Coronavirus daily news updates, February 25: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- Washington Supreme Court strikes down law that makes unintentional possession of drugs a crime
- She went to a Seattle thrift shop for crochet supplies and left with a kilogram of cocaine
- Seattle is texting alerts about leftover COVID-19 vaccines; here's who can get on the limited standby list
- Inslee: Washington state regions won't have to backtrack on COVID-19 reopening for now
Twelve-year-old Alajawan Brown had just gotten off a bus on April 29 when he was struck by gunfire, court documents state. The boy died in a 7-Eleven parking lot.
That day, deputies had been called to the scene of a gunfight at an apartment complex less than a block from where Alajawan died. It initially appeared a stray bullet must have struck the boy.
But documents released Thursday reveal that the shooter, identified as Walker, targeted Alajawan, mistakenly thinking the boy had been involved in the apartment gunfight. A friend of Walker’s had been shot.
Driving by Alajawan, Walker got out of a car, took aim, and shot him in the back, charging documents state.
The man who was shot at the apartments, Jonathan Jackson, survived. That shooting remains under investigation, said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg.
“This was just a tragedy because Alajawan did nothing wrong here,” Sheriff Sue Rahr said. “This wasn’t an accident, this wasn’t a stray bullet. He [Alajawan] was targeted because of what he looked like and the neighborhood he was in.”
After Alajawan was shot, Walker drove away with his wife and another man, prosecutors said. They went to Renton, where they dumped three guns. DNA found on a gun recovered by police, a .38-caliber revolver that authorities say was used to kill Alajawan, matched Walker’s skin cells, charging papers said.
Satterberg said his office is investigating whether Walker’s wife and the other man should be charged with assisting Walker. If convicted, Walker faces up to 40 years in prison, Satterberg said.
Walker has previous convictions for assault, drug possession, malicious mischief, reckless endangerment, harassment, obstruction, trespassing and violation of a protection order, according to prosecutors.
He has been in custody since May 14 on a probation violation.
Alajawan and his family moved to Skyway from Texas “for a better life,” Satterberg said.
The boy was close to his parents; his father is a restaurant worker, his mother a school-bus driver. Alajawan loved to play football and mowed neighbors’ lawns to pay for his registration fees.
He was returning home from Walmart, where he had bought new football cleats, when he was shot, Satterberg said.
At a news conference Thursday night, Alajawan’s parents and siblings thanked authorities and a tipster they’d been told was brave enough to come forward.
“We are glad you didn’t say, ‘It ain’t none of my business.’ ” Ayanna Brown said. “I don’t think the hole in our heart will ever close. But there is a bit of satisfaction that he (Walker) is not out there … hurting someone else.”
But that satisfaction was tempered by frustration and dismay that their son had not been cut down not by stray bullets but had been targeted by mistake.
The idea that it was a “mistake” bothered Alajawan’s mother.
“No,” she said. “Mistakes are something that can be erased and undone.”
Alajawan’s siblings spoke of all that he would never be allowed to become — a high-school graduate, a pro football player, maybe even president.
“He could have been anything he set himself to,” said Louis Brown Jr., Alajawan’s older brother.
Information from Seattle Times archives is included in this report.
Seattle Times staff reporter Craig Welch contributed to this report.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org