Photo courtesy of Kat Wilcox via Pexels

Photo courtesy of Kat Wilcox via Pexels

Boy, 13, found dead in Federal Way park is identified

Avril Brown Jr. was just a few days away from his 14th birthday, a family friend says.

The identity of a 13-year-old boy who was found dead in a Federal Way park on Nov. 3 has been identified by Shoreline Public Schools.

The victim is Avril Brown Jr. (A.J.), an eighth-grade student at Einstein Middle School in Shoreline, according to the school district.

“Our entire school community is deeply saddened by the loss of A.J. and the heartbreak his family and friends are experiencing. We join them in this grief and heartbreak,” said Einstein Middle School Principal Nyla Fritz in a letter to families.

A GoFundMe page created by a close family friend for A.J. states he was just a few days away from his 14th birthday. The financial goal has been met to help A.J.’s mother with funeral costs.

“It’s hard to believe this happened, A.J. touched the hearts of so many and he will be deeply missed,” the page states. “He was way too young and had so much to look forward to, so much potential.”

Several neighbors reported hearing gunfire around 3:35 a.m. Nov. 3 and officers responded to the area for an illegal discharge, said Cmdr. Raymond Bunk of FWPD, but there were no reports that anyone was shot.

A total of seven officers responded to the scene minutes later and assisted with checking the area between 20th Avenue South and S. 375th Street.

“As two officers were arriving, dispatch advised a white sedan was chasing a group of people on foot,” Bunk said. “Officers saw a car matching that description leaving the neighborhood as they were arriving. The officers quickly turned around and attempted to locate that vehicle without success.”

Officers drove through several streets and cul-de-sacs looking for any signs of a shooting, he said. One caller reported the suspect’s vehicle was possibly associated with the neighborhood, so officers checked all of the white cars in the area, none of which appeared to be involved in the shooting, he said.

In the initial calls, there were no reports of activity in the park, therefore officers did not search the park.

At about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 3, police responded to the 37200 block of 20th Avenue South after a Federal Way resident reported finding a body in the park. Police canvassed the site and launched a homicide investigation when they found A.J.’s body. Federal Way Police said the boy died from gunshot wounds to the head.

Detectives from Federal Way’s Criminal Investigations Section (CIS) are conducting the investigation. Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Federal Way Police Department at 253-835-2121.

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