Tacoma teen charged with murder for death of friend apparently shot by mistake
TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A 17-year-old boy has been charged with second-degree murder after Pierce County prosecutors say he mistakenly shot and killed a friend while intending to fire at another target.
The News Tribune reports the teen pleaded not guilty Friday in the death of 17-year-old Jatarius Tolbert. He is being held on $1 million bail.
Court records show Tolbert was shot as he was hanging out in a Tacoma parking lot near South 93rd and Hosmer Streets on May 11 with other young men. Someone in Tolbert’s group fired a gun at a car as it passed, and his acquaintances told police someone inside the car returned fire.
Prosecutors say the state crime lab later determined the bullet that killed Tolbert came from a revolver police found on the suspect when they stopped a car he was in a few days later.
Detectives who interviewed the suspect reportedly said he was despondent over accidentally shooting his friend.
“When confronted with the fact that he had been found with the murder weapon, the defendant claimed that he had switched guns with another member of his group after the shooting,” deputy prosecutor Jesse Williams wrote in court documents.
Reed was again interviewed the following day.
“The defendant did admit that he had never traded guns after the shooting,” Williams wrote. “The interview was short and the detectives terminated it after it was clear that the defendant was too emotional and despondent over accidentally shooting and killing his friend.”