WHITE CENTER, Wash. – A 17-year-old Burien boy is behind bars after investigators said he shot and killed his best friend during a game of Russian roulette.
The young suspect told police it wasn’t his gun, but rather one an adult friend gave to him.
The shooting happened in a White Center home Friday night. King County sheriff’s deputies said the 17-year-old was house-sitting for a man who gave him the gun to defend the property from burglars.
The homeowner, George Firis, said he thought he could trust the boy to not treat his gun like a toy.
“I’m so sorry this happened,” said Firis. “I mean, what a loss.”
Firis said he didn’t find out about the shooting until he got out of the hospital last weekend. Before the shooting on Friday, Firis said he admitted himself to a hospital to treat an alcohol addiction. He told Q13 News he also told the 17-year-old boy where he stored his firearm.
“I just said I’m going to put it where you can find it in case you see these people crashing through the window again,” he said.
“They weren’t making very good decisions by using a gun with ammunition to play a game like this,” said King County sheriff's Sgt. Cindi West.
Deputies said they got a call to 911 Friday evening saying 18-year-old Donovan Spann had been shot.
“They smoked a little bit of marijuana and then decided to play a modified version of Russian roulette where instead of pointing the gun at themselves, they would point the gun at each other,” said West.
Medics could not save Spann and now his 17-year-old friend could face a felony manslaughter charge.
“His life was taken way too soon, before his time,” said Spann’s brother-in-law, Justin West. “We believe it was a senseless act that happened. It didn’t have to happen.”
Spann’s family told Q13 News the suspect was Donovan’s best friend, but now both families are forever changed because they said the teens had easy access to weapons.
“We truly see this as an accident, we have no hard feelings towards him or the family,” said West. “We are grieving through his family as well.”
Deputies said it would be up to prosecutors to decide if Firis could face charges in connection to the shooting.
A celebration of life for Donovan is planned for Saturday at Highline High School.