Kaylynn Voegele “was all about her education” and wanted to be a cosmetologist, according to her aunt. The 17-year-old Mount Rainier High School student was fatally shot Wednesday night at a Burien apartment complex. A teenage boy has been arrested.
Kaylynn Voegele, a straight-A student with a positive attitude and an ever-present smile, wanted to be a cosmetologist and run her own business, according to her aunt.
“Her head is on her shoulders; she knew what she wanted to do. She was all about her education,” said Kennida Voegele, 44, of Roswell, N.M.
The aunt confirmed Thursday her 17-year-old niece was fatally shot in the breezeway of a Burien apartment complex Wednesday night, just down the street from where Kaylynn lived with her mother, sisters and baby brother.
A student at Mount Rainier High School, Kaylynn was also taking classes at Highline College, her aunt said.
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She said she spoke with her niece last week and they often messaged each other on Facebook. Kennida Voegele, a clinical-lab technician who left the Seattle area three years ago, was planning her annual visit in June to spend time with her brother’s daughters and other family.
A 17-year-old boy was arrested on investigation of homicide and booked into the King County Youth Services Center in Seattle, said Sgt. Jason Houck, a spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s Office.
The victim and suspect had “some sort of relationship,” Houck said, but detectives are “not sure exactly what it was.”
Witnesses called 911 just before 11 p.m. Wednesday to report the shooting in the 600 block of Ambaum Boulevard Southwest, and deputies arrived a few minutes later, according to Houck. The witnesses reported hearing one shot, then two more, and saw the girl lying motionless in the common hallway to one of the apartment buildings, he said.
The deputies, along with medics from the Burien Fire Department, tried to revive her, but she died at the scene from a single gunshot wound, according to Houck.
Before the shooting, witnesses said they heard an argument between a male and a female in the same hallway where the girl was found.
“It sounded like this female was arguing with someone she may have known,” Houck said. “We’re working under the assumption the victim knew the suspect.”
After shots were fired, at least one witness saw a young man running from the area, Houck said.
Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes detectives responded to the apartment complex and after speaking with witnesses and collecting some evidence, they arrested the 17-year-old boy, who had been talking with them at the scene, Houk said.
It wasn’t clear Thursday if the young man who ran from the scene is also the suspect.
The suspect is expected to make his first court appearance in King County Juvenile Court on Friday, said Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for Prosecutor Dan Satterberg. Given his age and the seriousness of the alleged crime, it is expected the 17-year-old will be charged as an adult, he said.
Kennida Voegele said other relatives told her Kaylynn had gone to visit the family of her ex-boyfriend, whom she dated on and off for the past year or two. Voegele didn’t know who was arrested in connection with Kaylynn’s death.
Kaylynn Voegele had previously attended Highline High School and other alternative programs in the district, including the Waskowitz Environmental Leadership & Service program in North Bend, said district spokeswoman Catherine Carbone Rogers.
Last June, Kaylynn was profiled in a school district newsletter about a summer internship with Juma Ventures, which helps high school students learn job skills and prepare for college.
“It is so much more than a job. I can apply all of these skills I’m learning to my school work,” Kaylynn was quoted as saying. “I have learned to keep going and to believe in myself.”
Carbone Rogers said Kaylynn, an 11th-grader, was well known and had friends in various schools. On Thursday, crisis teams were sent to locations across the school district, Carbone Rogers said.
“I heard our grief rooms were full at least a couple of those locations,” she said.