‘Tragedy all the way around’: Burien mom says 16-year-old son accidentally shot, killed younger friend

BURIEN, Wash – A 16-year-old Burien boy has been booked into the King County Youth Services Center for investigation of manslaughter after he shot and killed his 14-year-old best friend while playing with a gun at home, authorities say.

The shooting Tuesday night is yet another incident involving young people and firearms in Burien in recent weeks.

King County Sheriff’s deputies say the shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Investigators say the boys were playing with a gun when it went off, hitting the 14-year-old boy in the head. He was rushed to the hospital, but died of his injuries.

The mother of the surviving child agreed to be interviewed by Q13 News if she was not identified by name, and that she had an opportunity to share a warning with other parents.

“People need to know that guns kill people,” she said.

The brokenhearted mother recalls what happened late Tuesday night inside the garage at her home in Burien.

“It’s tragedy, it’s tragedy all the way around,” she said. “We love that boy, he spent the whole summer with us and now he’s gone.”

The mother’s 16-year-old son could face a manslaughter charge even if the shooting was an accident.

“He’s just a baby,” she said of her son. “He doesn’t even have a driver's license yet.”

The two teenage boys were best friends, according to family members.

“They were very best friends,” she said. “They were brothers, they called each other bro all summer long.”

King County Sheriff's Sgt. Ryan Abbott said, "I can think of at least four instances off the top of my head in the last few months where this has occurred. It’s really important people understand guns aren’t toys.”

Less than two weeks ago, three young men told police they were all shot in their legs during a drive-by shooting – but what really happened, say investigators, is they were playing with a firearm.

In this latest incident in Burien police don’t yet know where the boys got the gun. Family members told Q13 News they don’t own firearms.

Now their message to other parents is make sure you know what your kids are up to – and make sure they don’t have access to weapons.

“Just love your kids and know that your whole lives can change in a heartbeat,” she said. “Never would have dreamed that this would be happening to us.”

The 16-year-old boy involved in Tuesday night’s shooting is expected to make his first court appearance Thursday.

Correction: In an effort to convey how close the boys were, a family member described the boys as cousins to Q13 News. The boys were not cousins, but were best friends.