Jenna Carlile, 7, and her three younger siblings were alone in the family van when one of the children found a loaded handgun and fired it. Jenna was struck and later died from her injuries.
Investigators believe the girl's parents, Marysville police officer Derek Carlile and his wife, had parked the van near a friend's art gallery just before the shooting.
The Snohomish County sheriff's Major Crimes Unit has since confirmed that the gun used in the shooting was privately owned by Derek Carlile, sheriff's bureau chief Kevin Prentiss said Tuesday.
All of the family's four children were in the van at the time, Prentiss said. Detectives still won't specify which of Jenna's siblings was involved in the shooting.
Until Tuesday, they also wouldn't say how many children were in the vehicle or how old they were.
The investigation is ongoing, Prentiss said Tuesday. Upon completion, it will be forwarded to Snohomish County prosecutors for review.
County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe this week said that his office will carefully review the case when it comes to them and determine if charges for anyone are warranted.
"The tragic death of a child took place, and that is being investigated by a separate law enforcement agency," he wrote in an email. "My office has not received that investigation because it isn't done. We know little therefore of what evidence there is or isn't. I find it remarkable that some who know even less are all ready to make a charging decision."
State law says that children under the age of 8 are incapable of committing a crime. In cases where a child finds a gun and uses it to hurt or kill themselves or someone else, adults can face criminal charges, but that happens rarely in Washington.
The laws governing unattended firearms in vehicles are complex, and they can differ for commissioned police officers. There is no specific state law regarding potential criminal penalties for adults who make it possible for children to get their hands on guns.
The Carliles, of Camano Island, have asked for privacy since the shooting.
Marysville police also expect to conduct an internal investigation to determine whether any department policies were violated.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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