Dad admits drinking before girl’s shooting, police say

MARYSVILLE – A Marysville man allegedly told police he accidentally shot his 6-year-old daughter Sunday after he sent her upstairs to retrieve the loaded .45-caliber Colt handgun from his nightstand.

Detectives were told he had planned to clean the weapon. He allegedly told detectives he’d consumed multiple double shots of vodka and would have been too intoxicated to drive a car.

Richard Peters, 42, was arrested for investigation of first-degree manslaughter. He appeared briefly this afternoon in Everett District Court, where bail was set at $250,000.

Peters told police that his daughter, Stormy, brought him the handgun at his request. He said that he pulled the trigger and she fell to the ground, according to a police affidavit filed in court today. The girl was rushed to Seattle Children’s hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead this morning.

First-degree manslaughter occurs when somebody recklessly causes the death of another person.

According to the affidavit, Peters told detectives that he grabbed the gun from the girl, cleared the magazine and pulled the trigger, according to the affidavit.

He told police he froze and was unable to perform CPR or call 911 after the girl was struck by the bullet.

Peters reportedly told police all of his children handle guns. He said the handgun that fired Sunday has a “hair trigger,” and he thought his daughter could have been able to pull back the slide.

Peters’ wife allegedly told police she and her husband were cleaning guns and she retrieved the gun from his nightstand, according to the affidavit. She said that he cleared the gun, pulled back the slide and the gun went off, according to court papers. She said her daughter wasn’t in the room while they were cleaning the gun but suddenly appeared when the gun went off, police wrote in the affidavit.

Their other children, 8 and 3, were not in the room at the time of the shooting, she said.

Peters allegedly told police he has a concealed weapons permit. He said he often goes shooting and started handling guns at the age of 7, according to the court record.

Peters told detectives he accidentally discharged a shotgun in October during a Halloween event in Darrington. He said his friend had handed him a loaded shotgun. He said he didn’t know the gun was loaded and he accidentally fired a shot downrange.

Neighbors of the family, who live on a quiet cul-de-sac on the west side of the Tulalip Indian Reservation, described the accident as tragic.

“They are good people,” said Ana Tall, who lives on the same block as the family. “They are good neighbors.”

The girl was a first grader at Quil Ceda Elementary School. Grief counselors were at the school this morning to work with any children who might need help, said Marysville School District Superintendent Larry Nyland.

Quil Ceda’s staff was briefed before school this morning.

“It’s just a real tragedy,” Nyland said.

Gerry Provencher, 65, didn’t know about the shooting until this morning when his son called to say the road was blocked off with police tape.

“She was just a little girl,” he said. “It’s sickening. It’s just, Why?”

Provencher said the girl’s death is a tragic reminder of the importance of gun safety.

“I have a gun,” he said. “I have grandchildren. The gun is in my safe locked.”

The other children in the home where the shooting occurred have been removed by state Child Protective Services workers, said Rebecca Hover, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. That is standard practice when an investigation is underway surrounding the death of a child.

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