EVERETT – Leonard Hunter was a star football player, a young man with a big smile, plenty of friends and an unfortunate familiarity with crime.
A senior at Franklin High School in Seattle, Hunter died Tuesday in Everett after being shot in what witnesses described as a home-invasion robbery.
Everett police on Thursday remained tight-lipped on what they’ve learned to explain why the Seattle teen was in Everett on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old’s death has been classified a homicide, the Snohomish County medical examiner said Thursday. No arrests have been made.
Police found Hunter inside a home in the 2300 block of Wetmore Avenue about 8:30 p.m. He’d been shot in the torso.
On Thursday, the Franklin High School community was grieving the teenager’s death, Principal Jennifer Wiley said.
Hunter was a standout personality who touched just about every segment of the school, she said.
He was involved in sports, the student television station and a construction and engineering program, she said.
“People loved him and loved being around him because he made people feel good,” Wiley said.
Neighbors and witnesses on Wetmore had a different story.
The high school football star, who was good enough to receive mentions on the sport pages of Seattle daily newspapers, reportedly crashed through the front door of the home Tuesday night. Witness Gretchen Galstad said he pistol-whipped a man and fired off a few rounds.
Galstad rents the first-floor apartment in the home where the shooting took place and heard gunshots.
She said she talked with her upstairs neighbor who was in the apartment when the shooting occurred.
The man Hunter allegedly hit with the handgun took away the weapon and fatally shot the teen, she said.
Police detained that man, in his 20s, and questioned him Tuesday before determining there were no legal grounds to keep him in custody, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.
Witnesses told police about a white sport utility vehicle leaving the area, he said.
Anyone with information about the shooting or the SUV is asked to call Everett police.
Hunter was no stranger to trouble and had been in and out of the juvenile courts on felony prosecutions since 2005, records show.
His record includes cases involving theft, forgery, harassment and burglary. He’d been under drug court supervision in King County.
Hunter leaves behind a sister, Quentra, and mother Dionne, both of Seattle, the school principal said.
Police returned to the home on Wetmore on Thursday to investigate during daylight, Goetz said.
The investigation continues, he said.
Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or email@example.com.