By Scott North and Eric Stevick Herald Writers
STANWOOD — Snohomish County’s prosecuting attorney plans a careful review of the circumstances surrounding the death of a 7-year-old girl who was fatally shot March 10.
Jenna Carlile and other children were alone in the family van when one of her siblings reportedly found a loaded handgun and fired it. She was struck and later died from her injuries.
Investigators believe the girl’s parents, Marysville police officer Derek Carlile and his wife, had parked their van near a friend’s art gallery just before the shooting.
The case remains under investigation, and no new details were being released Monday, said Kevin Prentiss, a bureau chief with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe said he’s heard from several people, including some who are defense attorneys, and many of them seem convinced that criminal charges should be filed.
Roe said that sort of talk is premature.
“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.”
The prosecutor said that once the investigation is complete, his office will review the evidence and determine if charges for anyone are warranted.
“It will be public for everyone to see,” he said. “If there are questions about it I’ll answer them, because that’s part of my job.”
The laws governing unattended firearms in vehicles are complex, 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.
The Carliles live on Camano Island. There were four children. Police won’t say how many were in the van at the time of the shooting.
Marysville police also expect to conduct an internal investigation to determine whether any of its policies were violated.