The homicide investigation was turned over to prosecutors for review Wednesday. Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Lisa Paul declined to say how long it may take her to decide whether criminal charges will be filed in connection with the March 10 shooting.
She had just received the reports, and it wasn't immediately clear to her whether she would be requesting additional investigative work or if she would need to do follow-up interviews.
"I hesitate to say when I may make a decision. There may be elements that require further consideration, so when we do make a decision it is a sound decision based on a thorough evaluation," the veteran deputy prosecutor said.
Sheriff's detectives made no recommendation on whether charges should be filed.
Jenna Carlile, 7, and other children were in the family van in Stanwood when one of her siblings reportedly found a loaded handgun and fired it. The gun belonged to her father, Marysville police officer Derek Carlile.
Investigators believe Carlile and his wife had parked near a friend's art gallery just before the shooting. Their four children were in the van, and the parents were outside talking with their friend when Jenna was shot.
All of the other children present are believed to be younger than the 7-year-old victim.
Their young ages and the gravity of what happened raise significant legal considerations. According to state law, "children under the age of eight years are incapable of committing crime."
It remained unclear on Wednesday how much of the police investigation focused on the parents' actions leading up to their daughter's death.
The laws governing unattended firearms in vehicles are complicated, and they can differ for commissioned police officers. In Washington, there is no specific law regarding potential criminal penalties for adults who make it possible for children to get their hands on guns.
Derek Carlile remains on paid administrative leave, Marysville police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said Wednesday.
The police department expects to conduct an internal investigation to determine whether any policies were violated. Department officials said the internal review would happen after the sheriff's office investigation was complete.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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