A 14-year-old Federal Way boy was charged with first-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of another 14-year-old boy on July 2.
The teen suspect, who turned himself into police on July 5 after fleeing the scene, was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm on July 10 in King County Superior Court.
Federal Way police were dispatched to the shooting just after midnight on July 2 at the Maplewood Apartment complex in the 32100 block of 46th Place SW, the home of the victim and his family.
Police found the boy lying on his bedroom floor, deceased from a gunshot would to his head. His father told police that the suspect — his son’s best friend — had fled the residence with the gun.
The King County Medical Examiner’s office confirmed the identify of the victim as Alex Gonzales on July 9. The medical examiner said the boy was shot in the left side of his head, with the bullet exiting the right side of his head. The examiner concluded that the barrel of the firearm was either touching, or close to touching, the boy’s head when the gun was fired, therefore his death was ruled a homicide.
In follow-up interviews with Federal Way detectives, police discovered that Alex was hanging out in his room with the suspect and the victim’s 16-year-old girlfriend when he was shot.
The victim’s sister told detectives she was in her bedroom when she heard a gunshot coming from her brother’s room. She heard the suspect saying, “No, no, no” and heard her brother’s girlfriend crying. She went into her brother’s room, saw her brother had been shot and went to the living room, trailed by the girlfriend and suspect. She said the suspect hugged her, said, “I love you, I love you, I’m sorry,” and fled the apartment through the sliding glass patio door, according to the charging documents.
The girlfriend told police that the suspect instructed them to call the police before he fled.
She also told detectives that two days prior to this incident, the suspect came over to Alex’s apartment and showed them a gun that he called a “pocket rocket,” which he claimed to have just purchased for $400, the documents continue. She saw the suspect pull the gun out from his waistband. A detective conducted an internet search for “pocket rocket” and found an image of a .380 revolver, which the girlfriend said was similar to the gun she saw in the suspect’s possession.
The victim’s father also told detectives that after the shooting he recognized the smell of burnt gunpowder in his son’s bedroom, so he returned to the living room and asked the suspect where the gun was. The teen did not answer, but repeatedly hit himself in the head, saying, “Call 911,” before he fled, according to the documents.
During a search of the apartment, detectives did not find the firearm. They did find a fired bullet on the floor near the edge of the boy’s bed, but did not find any fired cartridge casing — consistent with a revolver being used to shoot and kill the victim, the documents continue. The whereabouts of the firearm is still unknown.
When the suspect turned himself in at the Federal Way police station on July 5, he told police, “It was an accident,” and sobbed as he made his statement, according to court documents.
The suspect’s mother told police that he has a history of running away from home. He recently returned to Washington after being sent to California to live with his aunt for a period of time because of his “disruptive lifestyle,” the documents continue. Federal Way police records show his mother made at least two formal runaway reports. The suspect was still actively listed as a runaway during the shooting.
His mother said her son was also associating with suspected gang members and using marijuana and other street drugs.
The suspect’s case setting hearing is set for Aug. 1 in the juvenile courtroom.
The Mirror does not name juvenile suspects unless they are tried as an adult.
Family and friends of the Gonzales family have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victim’s funeral expenses.