An Auburn man was charged Thursday for allegedly killing an 8-year-old girl when handling a gun that went off in a Federal Way apartment last month, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Andre Marcelle Jimerson, 35, is facing charges of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, prosecutors said. He’s being held at the King County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. Court records did not yet indicate which attorney is representing him.
According to a Federal Way police report, the girl’s father, Jimerson — the father’s cousin — and Jimerson’s girlfriend were listening to music at the Federal Way apartment on April 25. The three were in the master bedroom and the girl — who the King County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified as Royal’lee Wallace — was watching TV in the living room, the report says.
It’s still unclear who owns the gun and how it got to the apartment, but police say that at some point, Jimerson was holding it while rapping along with the music. He was waving the gun around when it went off, his girlfriend told police.
At the time, Federal Way spokesperson Cmdr. Kurt Schwan said the bullet traveled through three walls and struck the child in the head. Detectives later found the bullet went from the master bedroom, through the middle bedroom and into the living room.
Police initially arrested Royal’lee’s father and accused him of firing the fatal shot — believing the two had been in the apartment alone — but they released him a day later after detectives learned two other people were also there when the shooting occurred.
Jimerson’s girlfriend drove Royal’lee and her father to St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, according to the charges. Royal’lee later was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she died the next day from a gunshot wound to the head. The medical examiner’s office ruled her death a homicide.
The girlfriend later picked Jimerson back up at the Federal Way apartment and took him to his mother’s home in Auburn, according to the charges. Police couldn’t find him in the weeks after Royal’lee’s death, and records showed he turned his phone off shortly after the shooting.
He eventually turned himself in at the Kent Police Department at 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Prosecutors said Jimerson was not allowed to possess guns because of a recent domestic-violence protection order.
Royal’lee’s obituary describes the girl, who was born in Seattle in 2012 and attended Rising Star Elementary School, as a “shining star with flare and spunk and a love of fashion” and “full of spirit, energy and life.”
“Royal’lee loved all things magical- unicorns, rainbows and anything that glitters & sparkles,” the obituary says. “She was a girly girl, who loved to dance & get her groove on. She was a great storyteller and she loved to write her stories down and play them out.”
Her memorial service was held this past weekend in Kent.
Jimerson’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 27 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
Staff reporter Sara Jean Green contributed to this story.