13-year-old charged with manslaughter for shooting, killing friend says he was chased
The 13-year-old boy who accidentally shot his friend made his first court appearance in Juvenile Court in Cowlitz County Tuesday.
The shooting was reported Oct. 14 at a home in the 1500 block of Carrol Road, a few miles east of Kelso.
The boy called 911 and told police he and his friend, 13-year-old Edgar Vazquez, were playing with a firearm. Vazquez suffered a single gunshot wound to his upper body, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Court documents obtained by KATU News say the boy told deputies that Vazquez was chasing him. The suspect says that's when he retrieved a shotgun from the bedroom and shot Vazquez.
Investigators say the suspect's 12-year-old cousin was the only other person in the residence at the time of the shooting. She was in her room when the incident happened, but she told police the suspect sounded very playful when she overheard him tell Vazquez to stop chasing him.
He told police he didn't intend on shooting his friend and that it was an accident.
The accused teen's defense attorney argued for the judge to set bail below the $60,000 prosecutors sought in the case.
"My client has no known history, there is no indication that he is going to be a threat to the community," defense attorney Daniel Morgan told the juvenile court judge, "The state is not alleging one specific instance where my client intentionally harmed any person. There is no community safety there is no danger to the community in this situation."
Prosecutors asked the judge to set limits no matter what amount she decided on.
"We would ask that the bond include he’s under adult supervision at all times and that he have no access to firearms or weapons," said deputy Cowlitz County Prosecutor Jason Laurine.
The judge set a secured bail at $30,000.
“The court found probable cause. We are reviewing police reports to make a formal charging decision,” the assistant prosecutor told KATU News.
One Oregon man has a good idea what that teen and his family are going through.
"Whenever I hear about something like this happening it makes me reflect on my own experience," said Brandon Roses. "Just knowing each experience is different. I was 9 years old at the time."
That was back in 1995 when Roses became the first child in Oregon to face a murder charge.
Prosecutors in Clackamas County charged Roses with murder for shooting and killing his sister. He received 25 years on probation.
"My parents, they kept it together," Roses explained. "They stepped up as parents to help me, to help my siblings in a manner that I hope I never have to understand."
Roses said he hopes Cowlitz County prosecutors include compassion while pursuing necessary criminal charges.
"I would just ask prosecutors and judges and what not to remember accidents do happen. This type of stuff affects people for the rest of their life," said Roses.