Suspect, 16, charged as adult for shooting at Wash. sheriff's deputy

The teen is accused of driving by and shooting at a deputy who was writing a report

By Sara Jean Green
The Seattle Times

KING COUNTY, Wash. — King County prosecutors on Wednesday charged a 16-year-old Renton boy as an adult with first-degree assault, accusing him of firing an AK-47 rifle at a King County sheriff's deputy early Sunday in Skyway.

Jai King, who was also charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, was arrested after he fled a disabled car and was found hiding up a tree in South Seattle, according to the charges. He remains in juvenile detention, with bail set at $500,000.

King was also charged Wednesday in juvenile court with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, accused of firing a ghost gun at a playground in Renton in October, according to prosecutors. The gun was found by police in his waistband.

Ghost guns don't have serial numbers, are untraceable and can be purchased online without the buyer undergoing a background check. They arrive in components requiring assembly.

King is to be arraigned on both cases on Dec. 15. Court records do not yet indicate which attorney is representing him.

Under state law, 16- and 17-year-olds accused of committing serious violent crimes, including murder and first-degree assault, can be automatically declined from the juvenile system and charged as adults in superior court. The Times generally does not name juveniles accused of crimes unless they face charges in adult court.

[RELATED: Redefining 'juvenile' crime]

A sheriff's deputy was writing a report in a gravel pullout off the east shoulder in the 13300 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way South around 3:45 a.m. Sunday, charging papers say. He was in uniform and his vehicle was equipped with lights, siren and a front push bar.

The deputy, who is also a firearms instructor, saw a red car "slow roll" up to his vehicle in an area with a posted speed limit of 50 mph. He saw a silhouette lean out the front passenger window, then saw a muzzle flash and heard a gunshot he recognized as being fired from a rifle, say the charges against King.

Detectives with the sheriff's Major Crime Unit later determined the round went over the hood of the deputy's vehicle and struck a concrete wall. A fired cartridge casing was found nearby.

The deputy pursued the car, which ran several red lights and reached speeds up to 90 mph as it traveled north, the charges say. He was able to see that the red car was occupied by three males and got a good look at the front-seat passenger, who turned his head several times during the pursuit, say the charges.

The deputy performed a PIT maneuver, or pursuit immobilization technique, on the car, forcing it to come to a rest against a pole on the southeast corner of South Brandon Street and Rainier Avenue South. All three occupants ran from the car.

After briefly chasing one of the occupants, the deputy returned to the red car. Inside the car, the deputy saw an AK-47 rifle and what turned out to be a ghost gun with an extended magazine on the front passenger floorboard, say the charges. A second ghost gun was found on the driver's floorboard, and a drum magazine was located on the driver's seat, according to the charges. A cellphone police say belonged to King was also found in the car.

Seattle police officers and sheriff's deputies set up a perimeter and King was found hiding in a tree behind a nursing home on South Brandon Street. Police contacted a second juvenile male, but it does not appear that he was arrested, according to the charges against King.

The red car had been reported stolen during a robbery in Federal Way, according to the charges.

The rifle found in the red car was later matched to the cartridge casing found at the shooting scene, say the charges. Detectives also searched the cellphone and discovered videos of King that show him wearing the same jacket and hat as when he was arrested and posing with a handgun similar to the ghost gun found on the front passenger floorboard, charging papers say.

(c)2021 The Seattle Times

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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