Updated at 2 p.m. with more details from an Edmonds-Woodway High School letter to families Saturday, Dec. 1.
Edmonds police detectives said they are looking for a 16-year-old Mountlake Terrace boy after a 17-year-old Edmonds girl was found shot to death in the 7400 block of 208th Street Southwest around 4 p.m. Friday.
A letter sent to Edmonds-Woodway High School families Saturday identified the shooting victim as Gala Zuehlke, a former EWHS student.
According Edmonds police spokesman Sgt. Shane Hawley, the victim’s body was discovered by a friend at 4 p.m. Friday inside an apartment unit at Horizon Park Apartments. Detectives, with assistance from the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab, were at the crime scene overnight processing evidence and also interviewed acquaintances in an effort to determine what occurred, Hawley said.
It’s unknown exactly when the shooting occurred, but it was likely accidental, Hawley said. The Mountlake Terrace suspect — who has been reported missing for the past 10 days — left the scene and is still outstanding. Police are working with the suspect’s family in an attempt to locate him, Hawley added.
The cause and manner of death will be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office, which took custody of the body, Hawley said.
EWHS Principal Terrance Mims sent the following letter to the school’s families at 12:45 p.m. Saturday:
Dear Edmonds-Woodway Students and Families –
It is with great sadness that I share with you information about the death of former Edmonds-Woodway student Gala Zuehlke. We learned Friday afternoon that Gala Zuehlke died at her home.
Gala’s death is being investigated by the Edmonds Police Department as an accidental shooting but the suspect left the scene and is still outstanding. The suspect is a sixteen-year-old from Mountlake Terrace.
Gala’s family has given us permission to share this news with our school community.
Gala was a senior this year and a full-time e-Learning student, after having attended Edmonds-Woodway over the past two years. Gala is remembered fondly by both staff and students as a warm and friendly young woman.
This may be your student’s first experience with death or it may be that this death brings back feelings from past experiences. It is particularly difficult when it is someone that your child may have known through class or simply that your child faces his or her own mortality for the first time.
When things of this nature occur, feelings of shock, sadness, fear, and anger can very easily well-up inside of us. These emotions may come and go throughout the day – even for days to come, while some may not seem to have any reaction at all. We do not always know how a student will be affected at a time like this, but you can help your child simply by listening and talking with him or her when matters of this nature confront us.
This is a difficult time for many in our school community. To help our students and staff cope, we will have additional counseling support at school on Monday for both staff and students who were affected by Gala’s death.
Edmonds-Woodway High School