Suspect in shooting of 17-year-old Edmonds girl to be charged as an adult

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The 16-year-old Mountlake Terrace boy suspected in the Friday, Nov. 30 shooting death of a 17-year-old Edmonds girl appeared in Juvenile Court on Tuesday where Judge George Appel found probable cause to believe that the suspect committed first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of 17-year-old Gala Zuehlke of Edmonds. Due to the nature of the crime and the age of teen suspect, Appel ruled that the boy would be transferred to Snohomish County Superior Court where he will be charged as an adult.

As previously reported, the victim was shot to death in her apartment in the Horizon Park Apartments in the 7400 block of 208th Street Southwest Friday. According to the medical examiner, she died as the result of a single gunshot to the head.

Detectives from the Edmonds Police Department worked through the weekend interviewing witnesses and acquaintances of the deceased and assembling evidence. This included interviews with a 15-year-old girl, a close friend of the victim, who initially told police she found the girl’s body in the apartment with an apparent gunshot wound.

According to police reports filed with the court, the friend later changed her story to state that the she and the victim were with the suspect at the apartment Friday. The suspect had a silver revolver and bullets that he said he had stolen. She stated that he put one round in the gun and was spinning the cylinder as he pointed the revolver at objects and people in the room, while pulling the trigger on the empty chambers. The witness further stated that she believed he did not know that each time he pulled the trigger the cylinder advanced the bullet closer to the firing chamber. The last time he pointed it at the victim and pulled the trigger, the gun fired.

The witness told police she then felt for a pulse on Zuehlke’s neck, and finding none she fled the apartment for home, telling her father who called 911. Upon arriving at the apartment, police found the body, but the alleged shooter was gone.

Additional information from this witness led police to other acquaintances of the suspect. Interviews were conducted, and information gained from these and other sources ultimately led authorities to a home on Maltby Road where on Dec. 3 they apprehended the suspect and took him into custody.

He appeared the next day in Juvenile Court. In addition to probable cause for first degree manslaughter, Judge George Appel ruled that he constitutes “a threat to community safety,” but would be released on $100,000 bail on condition that he remain under house arrest or in the company of his parents.

Because of the nature of the crime and the suspect’s age, the case has been turned over to adult court. Prosecutors are currently preparing charges, and plan to present them at the suspect’s arraignment, tentatively scheduled for this Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court.

— By Larry Vogel

10 Replies to “Suspect in shooting of 17-year-old Edmonds girl to be charged as an adult”

  1. What I cannot understand is why the boy’s parents are not held accountable. He must have gotten the revolver and bullet(s) from his parents. There are too many of these shootings by teens to still hold on to the belief that “it was just an accident” or “he didn’t know what he was doing” or similar excuses. An innocent life has been distinguished here. Doesn’t that mean anything anymore? The parents need to be brought into this every single time, and they should BE PUNISHED SEVERELY, along with the offender. Not just the custodial parent, but the other parent as well. It takes two to tango; no excuses. This boy lived with his parents, he is under 18, they are responsible. They should serve hard prison time. I can almost guarantee that after a law like the above described is instituted, gun-related crimes by teens will decrease considerably. There is no other country on this planet that I am aware of, where parents are not held responsible for the crimes of their offspring.

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    1. It’s interesting that you should bring up laws regarding responsibility after a child takes and uses a gun to intentionally or unintentionally injure or kill someone. We have those laws, and they will be going into effect soon. Both our Edmonds Safe Storage ordinance, which will bring civil penalties, and 1639, which will bring criminal. It’s not been released where the gun came from in this case, and since the ordinance and 1639 still not in effect, we can’t hold the irresponsible gun owners liable yet, but soon, we can.

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        1. With all due respect Mathew the entirety of Europe, Australia, and Canada will agree that they do

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        2. Kashf, does Mexico agree? Maybe the guy that shot up Christmas market in France forgot that guns are illegal there. :/

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        3. Poor taste to politicize this. I hope the irony of a ballot initiative that deems an 18yo to not be old enough to have guns and the state charging this 16yo as an adult isn’t missed by anyone.
          Thoughts with the families.

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  2. I breaks my heart hearing all these assumptions about this young man. I’ve known him since he was in elementary school with my kids. He was always respectful and well mannered towards others. Only he knows the truth about this crime and must live with it the test of his life. So who are we to judge?…
    No one saw this coming. My prayers go out to both families during this trying time.

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    1. I’ve known him since he was 2 yrs old, I am in shock that this happened. All parties, the victim, her family, the young lady that witnessed the shooting, the boy and his family are all going to be impacted for the rest of their lives. My prayers go out to all of them.

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  3. They go through changes in their teens that you cannot even imagine. I have a 20-year-old nephew who turned out fine, or so it appears. He is a body builder now (was a pudgy boy at 16). He drives a Ford Mustang now (used to bicycle). They all like to show off in front of other boys or girls. But whether he will insert ammunition and show off/play with a gun/revolver in the presence of other teens or not resides with the way his parents raised him, what degree of awareness to assess a dangerous situation they instilled in him. “Good” kids know instinctively when a dangerous situation calls for de-escalation. “Bad” kids don’t. That’s the difference. Parental failure. This boy’s parents should be named, first of all, and charged as well. Not just to punish them for the girl’s death, but even more importantly, to let other parents know how they will fare in a similar situation. I don’t look at it as a gun-control problem, but a parenting problem. Parents are let off the hook, the bad kid gets a light sentence, and the matter is forgotten. Until it happens again, just around the corner, or a few blocks down the road, or in a neighborhing town. And it will happen more frequently; count on it.

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