Nearly four hours before a Shoreline teen was found shot to death in a Federal Way park on Wednesday, police responded near the area following reports of gunfire but didn’t find evidence of a shooting, police said Monday.
The gunfire was reported at 3:35 a.m. and police arrived about five minutes later. They searched the area near 20th Avenue South and 375th Street South, according to an email from Federal Way police Cmdr. Cary Murphy. However, police said they did not search the park.
When officers arrived, they received a report that a white sedan was seen chasing a group of people who were on foot, Murphy wrote in the email. Some officers spotted the car leaving the neighborhood as they were arriving, but were unable to find it, according to Murphy.
Police later responded to a call about a body found in the park in the 37200 block of 20th Avenue South around 7:30 a.m., according to police. Murphy said the victim had suffered gunshot wounds to the head.
The victim’s name hasn’t been released by the King County medical examiner, but he was identified as 13-year-old Avril Brown Jr. in a statement sent to families on Thursday by Nyla Fritz, principal at Einstein Middle School, where Brown was a student. Brown, also known as AJ, was an eighth-grader.
“Our entire school community is deeply saddened by the loss of AJ and the heartbreak his family and friends are experiencing,” the statement read.
School officials released the statement after posts about Brown began circulating on social media, Fritz wrote in the statement.
Murphy said police did not know why Brown was in Federal Way when the shooting occurred.
A GoFundMe was set up with the goal of raising $20,000 to help Brown’s family with funeral costs, which has since been met.
“A.J. touched the hearts of so many and he will be deeply missed,” wrote Royal Jackson, who organized the GoFundMe. He wrote that Brown was “just a few days shy” of turning 14 years old.
“He was way too young and had so much to look forward to, so much potential,” Jackson wrote.
Police ask anyone with information to call 253-835-2121.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this post.