Today, a local teen was charged for his involvement in what is believed to be a gang-related shooting at a crowded Parkland McDonald’s restaurant earlier this week.
Fifteen-year-old G.D.S. has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree and unlawful possession of a short-barreled rifle. The juvenile respondent is being held in custody pending a hearing to determine if he will be prosecuted as an adult.
“We’re lucky innocent bystanders weren’t injured,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “This case highlights the dangers of juvenile offenders with illegal guns.”
Around noon on January 21, 2013, G.D.S. was with a group of friends at the fast food restaurant when another group of teens confronted them, wanting to fight. Members of the confronting group lifted their shirts revealing firearms. Both groups left the restaurant. G.D.S. pulled out a sawed off .22 caliber rifle and fired one shot before the rifle jammed. At least one other suspect fired several shots from a handgun. The respondent and suspects fled on foot.
Witnesses described a panicked scene in and around the restaurant after nearly a dozen gunshots rang out. One driver who was waiting for food in the drive-thru lane jumped a curb to exit the area after hearing shots. Several witnesses observed a second young male suspect run from the scene, carrying a handgun. A 14-year old boy, a friend of the defendant, sustained a gunshot wound to the hand and was transported to a hospital. A car dealership was hit by two rounds, one that struck an outside pillar and one that shattered a window. A receptionist inside the dealership was cut by flying glass. The bullet lodged in the wall of a children’s play area.
Law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions responded to the scene. Investigators found a trail of large caliber shell casings leading away from the restaurant. Officers located the respondent, who had several .22 caliber bullets in his pockets when he was arrested. The teen led police to the rifle, which held seven additional bullets.
G.D.S. has prior convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree and unlawful possession of controlled substance with intent to deliver. He was also arrested on an outstanding warrant.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be forthcoming. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.