Marysville teen’s dying words lead to arrests of 2 boys

Andre Hofland, 17, was shot and killed in a robbery. Two Marysville teens were arrested for investigation of murder.

MARYSVILLE — Moments after he was shot outside his home in Marysville, 17-year-old Andre Hofland told his mother the name of his alleged killer.

“Dominic from school shot me,” he said, according to court papers.

He died Tuesday night on the operating table at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

His words led police to arrest Marysville teenagers Dominic Wilson, 16, and Morzae Roberts, 17, for investigation of second-degree murder. Both were in custody Thursday at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

As a general rule, The Daily Herald does not name juveniles accused of a crime unless it results in a death.

Defense attorney Samantha Sommerman argued that the judge should not find probable cause to detain Roberts on a murder charge, saying there was no proof he knew Wilson had a gun, and that he would end up using it. At most, she said, he should be investigated for robbery.

The judge disagreed.

Marysville officers responded to the 11600 block of 58th Avenue NE shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, to reports of a teenage boy being shot. The suspects were gone. A single spent 9 mm shell was in the road.

With a first name, police quickly settled on Wilson as their suspect. A couple of officers were familiar with him from past encounters.

Last spring, juvenile court records show he was accused of taking his parents’ vehicle without permission. In September, police responded to his house when he got into an argument with his mother. She called 911, she reported, because her son was out of control and she no longer knew what to do with him. He allegedly threatened to punch her, called her names and shoved her. She reported Wilson kept taking the car without permission and used Xanax without a prescription.

Wilson later pleaded guilty to auto theft and fourth-degree assault. His sentence was deferred, as long as he met the conditions of his probation.

On Tuesday, Hofland’s mother reported she was putting away Christmas decorations when her son reportedly told her he was meeting a friend outside near their home. It wasn’t odd. Hofland’s parents told police they often saw him go out to make sales through OfferUp.

His mother saw him go outside and meet two people wearing hoodies. She couldn’t see their faces. It was dark and cold, about 40 degrees, and pouring rain.

In security video nearby homes, three people could be seen meeting, according to court documents. They walk away from Hofland’s home, almost out of sight. Two of them make an exchange. A brief fight breaks out. One of them points something at Hofland, who tries to grab it. There’s a struggle. Then Hofland falls to the ground, as the other two run.

Hofland’s mother heard the gunshot, and her son scream, according to court papers. He stumbled across the street and fell near the sidewalk outside their house. His father held him until police arrived.

Two friends, who had plans to hang out with Hofland that night, were on their way to pick him up when they saw flashing lights and an ambulance.

The told police said they also knew Wilson. They reported that he bought “puff bars” — disposable devices used to vape nicotine — from Hofland. They called Wilson a “puff bar fiend,” and said he posted Snapchat videos showing the same kind that Hofland sold. Wilson also posted videos and pictures of marijuana and guns, they said.

Hofland’s friends later told police that the other suspect, Roberts, posted an ad for puff bars on Snapchat after the shooting — the same kind Hofland sold. By the next morning, Roberts had reportedly deleted the post and his profile.

Police staked out Wilson’s house. They arrested him a little after 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, as he left his home. He wore a green shirt that appeared to have blood on it, according to court papers. He had fresh scratches, like those left by blackberry bushes, on his hands, arms and legs. Without being asked, Wilson allegedly told officers he was the shooter. Officers reminded him he had the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney.

“Got it,” he said. “(Expletive) it. I’m gonna be in jail for the rest of my life.”

Later, when officers tried interviewing Wilson, he said he wanted an attorney. They turned off the recorder, but Wilson started talking anyway.

“I told my mom about it,” he said, according to court papers. “It was a drug deal gone bad. … He lunged for me and I got scared. I thought he had a gun, but I can’t use that as an excuse.”

He commented that he ruined his life, and ended Hofland’s.

“All of this over an accident because I was scared,” he reportedly said. “Three seconds just changed my life.”

Wilson asked if he was the only suspect.

“My brother can’t get charged as much as me though because he didn’t shoot,” he said, apparently referring to Roberts, one of his closest friends.

That afternoon, a Marysville police Tactical Response Team served a search warrant on Roberts’ house and arrested him. In his bedroom was a bunched up pile of soaking wet clothes — the same type of clothing that one of the suspects wore in the video.

Officers wrote that Roberts lied throughout his interview. He reported that Wilson used his phone to arrange the deal with Hofland, and that he walked with Wilson through the school. But Roberts claimed he never went to Hofland’s house, contrary to what’s seen in security footage.

When confronted with the conflicting information, he reportedly changed his story, saying he knew Wilson had been robbing people lately, but didn’t know he was going to rob Hofland. He also denied knowing Wilson had a gun with him that night.

Toward the end of the interview, Roberts asked the officers to turn off the recorder. They did. He reportedly told them that he saw Wilson hide something in a closet at another person’s house.

“That’s where the gun has to be,” he allegedly said.

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Friday that Hofland died of a gunshot.

Hofland attended classes in the Marysville School District. A district spokesperson, Jodi Runyon, called the shooting a tragedy. Counselors were available for students and staff in the district.

Judge Joseph Wilson set the suspected shooter’s bail at $1 million and Roberts’ at $500,000.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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