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.