Teenager with airsoft gun killed in Renton by off-duty guard, police say

An off-duty armed security guard shot and killed a 17-year-old boy who was trying to trade an airsoft gun at a Renton sporting goods store Wednesday night, police say.

The 51-year-old man shot the boy who, with two other teenagers, was walking toward a Big 5 Sporting Goods store in a Grady Way shopping center, according to court documents released Friday.

He was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of second-degree murder. A decision from prosecutors on the charges is expected June 10.

The man told Renton Police Department officers he thought the boy was going to rob the store.

The Seattle Times generally does not name suspects until they have been charged.

The two surviving teens told police they were going to the store to exchange or return a faulty airsoft gun, as well as to get help with another airsoft gun they owned.

The man was waiting to pick up his son at a martial arts studio at the mall when he saw three people walking in front of his car toward the Big 5 Sporting Goods store, documents state. Police said he told them he was “conducting surveillance” at the mall because of the crimes he witnessed in the parking lot.

The man said he saw one of the boys had what he thought was a Glock and thought the group was going to commit an armed robbery, documents state.

He “felt like he didn’t have time to call 911 and that he had a duty to act to prevent people from hurting someone innocent and to protect his son who was next door,” police wrote in their report.

Police said the man told them he got out of his car and pointed his gun at the group, telling them to drop the gun and put their hands up, according to the documents. The teen holding the gun threw it aside, the man told police.

According to surveillance footage, the man then pushed the teen to the ground and straddled him, pinning him to the ground.

Police said the man told them that’s when he saw one of the other teens reaching for his waistband. The man said he saw the victim grab the handle of a gun and thought he was going to pull it out and kill him.

The man then shot the victim “multiple times,” according to court documents. The King County Sheriff’s depositions happened to happen in the parking lot and were responded to within seconds. The boy died instantly.

The surviving teens’ statements and surveillance camera footage contradict the man’s statement to police, according to court documents. One of the boys told police the victim never removed the airsoft gun from his waistband.

Surveillance footage shows the victim walking away from the man with his hands outstretched, leaving nothing visible. The victim shows his left hand raised above his head and his right arm briefly lowered to his waist.

“Just after [the victim] is seen, on the video, with his hand on his waist, it is clear that he was shot as he abruptly moves his body away from [suspect] and falls to the ground,” police wrote in their report.

The teens told police they repeatedly yelled to the man that the guns they had were BB guns. The man told police he thought the guns were real.

Seattle Times reporter Amanda Zhou contributed to this report.

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