EVERETT — An Everett woman was shot to death while trying to protect her teenage son from an apparent armed, home-invasion robbery of drugs, according to court documents filed in the case.
One teenager has been arrested for investigation of murder. Another is being sought on that charge and at least three others were being sought for questioning Friday.
The son, 17, survived a gunshot in the robbery. He reportedly told Snohomish County sheriff’s detectives that a group of young men carrying weapons showed up around 4:45 a.m. Thursday at the Village Green mobile home park off E. Gibson Road, and demanded his “stash” — something that has happened before.
The group forced their way into a shed, where he sleeps and deals methamphetamine and marijuana, according to a probable cause statement filed in the juvenile division of Snohomish County Superior Court.
The paperwork said Julie Knechtel, 54, heard the commotion as the group converged on the shed. She came to her son’s aid, sheriff’s major crimes detective David Fontenot wrote.
The teen said “his mother (Julie Knechtel) appeared and was trying to help him,” the statement said. “He said two of the subjects attacked Knechtel and he heard one pop. The two males then fled the scene.”
The son said two of the intruders remained. The son tried to give his mother aid, but she was mortally wounded.
“As his back was to the two remaining subjects he heard another ‘pop’ and felt he had been shot in the back,” the detective wrote.
The son told detectives that he recognized one of the intruders, and that the same person had committed a similar attack at his shed on Oct. 28, pistol whipping him and threatening him with a shotgun. Knechtel interrupted that robbery, too, and the suspects fled, the teen said. The boy needed treatment at Swedish Medical Center after that attack.
Earlier this week, the son said, masked robbers again showed up at the shed, but he was able to slam the door and they fled.
The son was expected to survive. Based on his statement, investigators tracked down a 15-year-old at a home along Manor Way. The teen at first denied any involvement with Thursday morning’s events but ultimately admitted to participating in the attack, according to court papers.
He reportedly said that Knechtel came to her son’s aid, swinging a chair at the intruders. He told detectives he ran from the scene and then heard gunshots, the statement said.
The 15-year-old was arrested for investigation of aggravated first-degree murder, first-degree assault and first-degree burglary. He made a first appearance Friday morning in juvenile court. Judge George Bowden found cause for his detention and set bail at $500,000.
Sheriff’s deputies know the defendant well, for gun-related crimes.
In January, the suspect shot another boy, 17, when he was playing with a silver .25-caliber pistol in a wooded grove near Mill Creek. The wounded boy suffered a gunshot to his right underarm. Witnesses were friends of both boys. They said the shooter ran off, saying, “I can’t go to jail,” according to court records.
He was charged in April for that shooting. A protection order described the boys as “frenemies” — part friend, part enemy.
In October, deputies detained the boy when he was seen hiding behind trees in the same neighborhood by Mill Creek, with a different friend. In the spot they were sighted, deputies found an abandoned backpack, a gun, two bandanas and a mask. The teen had a bag of Xanax in a sweatshirt pocket, according to a police report. Charges were declined.
Weeks later, a judge sentenced the 15-year-old for the January shooting: one year on probation and 77 hours of community service, for third-degree assault and being under 18 while in possession of a handgun. He was ordered to have evaluations for drug dependency and mental health problems.
Then, a week ago, the boy was a passenger in a drive-by shooting near Marysville. He gave police a story about how the driver started acting crazy when he lost his wallet that day, and that the driver shot a handgun into the sky as they rode through a neighborhood. The driver claimed it was the boy who actually fired most of the shots. The driver was arrested. The passenger was let go, “due to (his) cooperation in this incident,” according to a police report.
The investigation into the fatal shooting continues.
The sheriff’s office at 2:45 a.m. Friday used a SWAT team in an attempt to arrest another teen suspect, Larry Dontese Dorrough, 16, at a home in the 16700 block of North Road near Martha Lake. He’d already fled, said sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton. He is wanted for first-degree murder.
Dorrough remained at large in the late afternoon Friday, when the sheriff’s office released mugshots of him. He’s 5-foot-6, about 150 pounds, with dark skin, brown eyes and brown hair. He’s transient, living between Everett, Lynnwood and Seattle. He should be considered armed and dangerous, Ireton said.
In fall, Dorrough threatened a student with a knife at Edmonds-Woodway High School for “talking trash” about his gang, according to charging papers in that case. Police searched his backpack and recovered three knives, tequila, cheap whisky and Xanax pills. He pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanors a week later.
Officials have asked for help in identifying three other young people who may have information about Thursday’s shootings. On Friday they released photos of two young men and a young woman. The photos were taken a day before at a local convenience store, Ireton said.
Anyone with information about their identities or whereabouts can call the sheriff’s office anonymous tip line, 425-388-3845, or submit a tip online.
Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@herald net.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.