EVERETT — David Sandoval’s family and friends planned to gather today to celebrate the 14-year-old and all the good he did in his short life.
David was shot to death last week.
A 13-year-old boy remains locked up in Denney Juvenile Justice Center, accused of killing David outside an Everett apartment building. Prosecutors on Monday charged the boy with second-degree murder and unlawful gun possession. He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.
The Daily Herald is not naming the boy because he is charged in juvenile court.
Everett police have called the Oct. 4 shooting gang-related. Witnesses told police the 13-year-old was associating with a south Everett gang and was going to be initiated into it soon or already had been recently.
Several witnesses also stepped forward saying in the days and hours leading up to the fatal shooting the boy had pointed a gun at multiple people. He allegedly told them he wanted to be known as “lil shooter,” according to charging papers. A witness reported to police that the boy told her, “If you hear I’m in jail, don’t be surprised. I’m gonna shoot people,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Cheryl Johnson wrote.
Prosecutors allege that David was associated with a rival gang. Court papers don’t say what the allegation is based on. The boy didn’t have any criminal history.
His family and friends say prosecutors have it wrong.
“David was not in a gang. He was a good boy,” said Todd McNeal, the executive director of Hand in Hand. The teen volunteered every week with the Everett nonprofit, which serves foster children. McNeal believes the Mariner High School freshman was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In the hours before he died, David and his friends were watching a football game at Explorer Middle School. The 13-year-old confronted David about the color of his shoes, according to charging papers.
The suspect reportedly pointed the gun at David before walking away.
David left the game to meet a friend at Walden Pond Apartments. He and a friend encountered the boy on a path between buildings. The 13-year-old allegedly told police the two challenged his gang affiliation.
He reported firing one shot from a gun he borrowed from a 12-year-old friend.
Another teen told police the suspect took the gun from a kid they’d been hanging out with at Horizon Elementary School.
The 13-year-old, he said, had been “acting tough and hard just because he’d gotten a gun,” Johnson wrote in court papers.
The suspect reportedly pointed a gun at that boy earlier in the day “to get rid of his fears and not be scared.” The two were both runaways and had been camping together.
The 13-year-old’s mother had died and his father wasn’t around. He lived with his grandmother. She had asked his older brother to take the boy in. He was there for about eight hours before he ran away. He’d been living on the streets for about two weeks.
The boy later allegedly told police that after shooting David he wanted to help him but he was scared so he ran. He was arrested later that day and led detectives to the gun. It was wrapped in a blue bandana and loaded with a single bullet.
Everett has been plagued by gun violence for more than a year; much of it has involved young people.
There have been more than 35 shootings in the city since December. Most of those have been attributed to gangs warring in south Everett, inside and outside city limits.
David’s family has asked for privacy. He started volunteering last spring. He spent every Friday at Hand in Hand and stopped by throughout the week, too. He helped with a soccer program for kindergartners and first-graders at Horizon Elementary School.
“David was a very special boy who was loved dearly,” McNeal said.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.