There are many reasons why a 10-year-old boy shouldn't have a handgun. Chief among them is that he's a 10-year-old boy who should be doing 10-year-old boy things, like playing stickball or, for a less dated childhood rite of passage, XBox. Further on down the list is that 10-year-old boys with guns tend to suck at committing robberies.
Last night at a little before 8 p.m., two officers were driving down Rainier Avenue when they saw a fight at a bus stop. By the time cops got out of the car to break up the fight, one of the boys involved was booking it away from the scene.
The cops first encountered a 10-year-old boy with a gunshot wound to the arm. He told police that the kid who shot him was the same one who'd just run off. Sure enough, when the officers chased down the 17-year-old suspect, they found a loaded .22 in his backpack.
It looked like a simple case. Cops had a victim, a suspect and the weapon used in the crime. But when all the kids involved were taken down to the station for questioning, the cops say the story fell apart (as 10-year-old boy's stories tend to do).
According to police, this is what actually happened.
The 17-year-old wasn't the suspect. He was the victim. He was riding the 7 bus when five kids -- the oldest 15 and the youngest the 10-year-old who got shot -- got on the bus and reportedly started harassing him.
Eventually the boys surrounded the victim and told him, in effect, to empty his pockets. That's when the 17-year-old told police that the 10-year-old unzipped his backpack and started fishing around.
Sensing something very bad was about to happen, the 17-year-old told police that he bearhugged the 10-year-old so he couldn't pull out whatever he was grabbing. A shot was fired. The 17-year-old thought he'd been hit, until he saw blood on the 10-year-old's shirt.
Meanwhile, the bus stopped at Rainier and Henderson. The victim hollered for the back door to be opened. And when he got out he had the presence of mind to grab the backpack with the gun in it.
This is roughly the point at which the cops arrived on the scene. As the 17-year-old was getting hit and trying to get away from the 10-year-old and his buddies.
Seattle police spokesperson Mark Jamieson says he thinks the young suspect is still at Harborview recovering from his gunshot wound. He won't be charged until he's released.