A 17-year-old Burien boy was charged Monday with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Kaylynn Voegele, 17.
King County prosecutors say a Burien teen made up a story of a drive-by shooting to blame unknown assailants for the fatal shooting of his 17-year-old girlfriend last week at a Burien condominium complex.
But Gianni Cunningham’s story quickly unraveled after a neighbor told sheriff’s detectives he watched through his peephole as Cunningham first played with a 9-mm handgun, then pulled the trigger about a foot from Kaylynn Voegele’s face, instantly killing the Mount Rainier High School student, charging papers say.
After Voegele was fatally shot, Cunningham fired two more shots into a door in an apparent attempt to bolster his claim of a drive-by shooting, the charges say.
Cunningham, 17, was charged as an adult in King County Superior Court on Monday with second-degree murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Under state law, 16- and 17-year-olds accused of serious violent offenses are automatically charged as adults instead of juveniles.
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Arrested at the shooting scene Wednesday night, Cunningham is being held in lieu of $2 million bail, charging papers say.
Cunningham was arrested in February and charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm for bringing a loaded .45-caliber handgun onto the Rainier Beach High School campus, according to the charges filed in connection with Voegele’s death. He received a deferred disposition and was placed on juvenile probation three weeks before he was accused of killing Voegele, the papers say.
According to charging papers, Cunningham is a student at South Lake High School. Stacy Howard, a spokeswoman for Seattle Public Schools, did not return phone calls Monday seeking information about Cunningham’s status in the school district.
Just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of gunfire at a condominium complex at 615 S.W. Ambaum Blvd., where they found Voegele in a stairwell, dead from a gunshot wound to the head, charging papers say.
Cunningham approached deputies at the scene, said he had been staying at the complex with his aunt and was with Voegele when she was shot, say the charges.
According to Cunningham’s version of events, the two were hanging out near the laundry room when a man in a black BMW fired at Cunningham as the teen opened a door to get some fresh air, say the charges.
But a male resident told detectives he was getting ready for bed and heard voices in the hall outside his unit, say the charges. He looked through his peephole, saw the teens talking and was going to tell them to quiet down until he saw Cunningham playing with a gun, the papers say.
The resident heard Voegele repeatedly tell Cunningham to put the gun away and at one point she said, “I’m not afraid of you,” according to the charges.
As the resident continued to watch through his peephole, he saw Cunningham pull the gun from his pocket or waistband, point it at Voegele’s face and pull the trigger, the charges say. Cunningham then ran outside and the resident heard two more shots, say the papers.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor John Castleton wrote in charging papers that Cunningham exhibited a “complete lack of remorse for the victim” and tried to cover up his crime by making deputies and witnesses believe he was the “true target of this fictitious drive-by shooting.”