The woman, 20, killed at a Redmond house party was struck by a stray bullet fired from another room, police said Monday.
The 20-year-old woman killed Sunday morning at a Redmond house party was struck by a stray bullet fired from another room, police said Monday.
The man suspected of firing the handgun, Cornelius De Jong IV, 21, of Redmond, was charged Monday in King County Superior Court with first-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of Claire Thompson.
According to charging documents, Redmond police were called to a house in the 16800 block of Northeast 97th Street around 3:30 a.m. for a report of a shooting. Charging papers say the man who called for help told a dispatcher, “my best friend shot a girl in the house.”
When police arrived at the home, they found Thompson suffering from a gunshot wound to her neck. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she died later that day, police said.
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The man who called for help told officers that De Jong had brought a .40-caliber handgun to the party. Police said De Jong has a concealed-weapons permit.
Witnesses said De Jong had placed the gun in a safe at the house because he had planned to drink at the party, charging papers say. De Jong later removed the handgun from the safe when someone asked to see it.
Several people handled the weapon before it was placed under a mattress for safekeeping, charging papers say.
At some point, De Jong went into the room to retrieve the gun from beneath the mattress. The magazine was removed from the weapon and De Jong pointed the handgun at the wall and pulled the trigger to show the firearm was empty, the charging papers say.
“Unbeknown to him there was still a live round in the chamber of the firearm, and pulling the trigger had the effect of firing the projectile through a nearby wall,” police wrote in their report.
The bullet struck Thompson, who was in the next room.
When questioned by police, De Jong declined to submit to a breath test, police said.
De Jong has been ordered held at the King County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail. Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Richardson, in charging papers, said that he has prior convictions for drunken driving and being a minor in possession of alcohol.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @SeattleSullivan.
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed
to this report.