Everett man, 94, killed his grandson, then died weeks later

Everett police previously had been called to disagreements at the home on Madison Street.

William Lee “Billy” VanMechelen

William Lee “Billy” VanMechelen

EVERETT — Tensions at home preceded the premeditated shooting of an Everett man by his 94-year-old grandfather last year, according to newly released police reports.

Everett officers previously had been called to the house on Madison Street for disagreements between the two men. Family members later told investigators they’d been concerned about the living arrangement and had been working on making changes before the shooting Sept. 2.

Detectives had considered seeking charges of first-degree murder.

However, the grandfather died in November, and the case has since been closed. The Daily Herald obtained the documents this week through a public records request.

The 94-year-old, William Van Mechelen, “had the forethought to retrieve his pistol from his (dresser) drawer and remove it from its holster,” detectives wrote. “He then called his grandson to his room and informed him that he is going to die.”

William Lee “Billy” Van Mechelen called 911, saying his grandfather had shot him twice in the chest. It was just after 10 a.m.

The 46-year-old told a dispatcher he was blacking out. The dispatcher heard what sounded like dying breaths, followed by background noise. At least one of the bullets punctured a lung.

Police surrounded the home but their views were obscured by plastic coverings on the windows. They spent about a half-hour making loudspeaker announcements for the suspect to surrender.

They broke a window to see inside. The victim was in an armchair in the living room, unresponsive. CPR efforts were unsuccessful.

The older man was sitting on the couch, with a black pistol on a nearby side table. He had an oxygen line in his nose and a foot injury that was bleeding. He also was hard of hearing.

He “had a vacant look on his face and he (was) humming/moaning,” police wrote.

Medical records showed the grandson had reported weeks earlier that the man’s dementia appeared to be progressing.

The gunfire apparently happened in the 94-year-old’s bedroom. One of the expended bullets was found there, lodged in the drywall, among other items of evidence.

A leather firearm holster was within reach of his bed, along with the dresser that contained boxes of ammunition, records show.

The older man needed assistance to walk outside.

At the hospital, he was asked if he understood what had happened.

He reportedly said that he had “eliminated” someone. He said he had been thinking all day about killing his grandson. He added that he called the younger man to his bedroom and shot him.

During the interviews, the older man appeared to have a clear mind on occasion, but also became confused and seemed to shift in time, possibly thinking he was back in World War II. He was stationed on the USS Kete but was transferred for medical treatment, according to his obituary. The submarine was lost at sea in the days that followed.

According to the documents, in the days after the shooting, he continued to ask if his grandson would be returning home.

The man was kept at the hospital on an involuntary hold for mental health reasons. He also was diagnosed with pneumonia and later transferred to an adult care home, where he succumbed to heart and lung disease.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Pallet communities are groups of tiny homes for unhoused people. Here, a worker installs weatherstripping on a pallet shelter at Pallet in Everett in January 2020. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
Tiny home community is proposed at a Marysville church

The Pallet shelter community would provide transitional housing to eight people. Neighbors have questions.

The Everett Police Department has asked the City Council to keep its nine Stay Out of Drug Areas, zones where people arrested for drug crimes are not allowed. (City of Everett)
Everett police ask council to renew 9 drug enforcement areas

SODAs are a legal tool that prohibits people arrested for drug crimes from entering certain areas.

Police: After short chase in Marysville, man dies by suicide

Officers responded to a domestic violence call. The suspect reportedly shot himself at the end of a chase.

Alain Warchilde racks an e-bike available for Saturday's parking lot sale at Sharing Wheels in Everett on June 16, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Need new-to-you bike? It’s time for a sale at Sharing Wheels

The Everett nonprofit kept fixing and donating bicycles in spite of pandemic closure and challenges.

The final version of the 737 MAX, the MAX 10, takes off from Renton Airport in Renton, WA on its first flight Friday, June 18, 2021. The plane will fly over Eastern Washington and then land at Boeing Field  (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)
Boeing’s newest version of the 737 Max makes first flight

The Max 10 took off near Seattle for an expected two-hour trip.

Jeff Thoreson does a cheer with his second grade class before the start of their kickball game on his last in-person day of school on Thursday, June 17, 2021 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish teacher hit the right notes in memorable career

Jeff Thoreson will retire this month after molding minds at Riverview Elementary School for 41 years.

Arlington-area man arrested in fatal machete attack

The suspect, 31, claimed self-defense. It was an argument over a wheelbarrow, a sheriff’s deputy wrote.

Pilot Dan Tarasievich lines up for a landing at  Arlington Municipal Airport after a morning of flying with friends on Saturday, April 20, 2019 in Arlington, Wash. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Could Snohomish County’s two largest airports be expanded?

A study explores expanding runways at Paine Field and Arlington Municipal to relieve a coming crunch.

Junelle Lewis becomes emotional while performing a dance with her children during the Justice to Jubilee Juneteenth Celebration at Skykomish River Park on Saturday, June 19, 2021 in Monroe, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Justice to Jubilee: ‘Noone is free till everyone is free’

People gathered Saturday in a Monroe park to celebrate Juneteenth, a new federal holiday that commemorates the end of slavery.

Most Read