A judge has found probable cause in the case of a 13-year-old Kelso boy arrested this week on suspicion of first-degree manslaughter for allegedly killing his friend with a shotgun on Oct. 14.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that deputies had arrested the boy, Dawson A. Dunn, after concluding an investigation into the death of his friend, Edgar Vazquez, who was also 13.
(The Daily News does not publish the names of minors charged with crimes unless the stories involve crimes of a serious nature.)
The sheriff’s office has turned its findings over to the Cowlitz County Prosecutor’s Office, which will decide whether to formally charge Dunn with a crime. Dunn’s arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 5, when presentation of formal charges may occur. Dunn would also be expected to enter a plea at that time.
Cowlitz County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen was unavailable for comment by press time Wednesday.
At Dunn’s first appearance hearing Tuesday, Judge Marilyn Haan found probable cause to arrest Dunn and hold him on $30,000 bail. (A finding of probable cause means that a judge finds there is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime may have been committed and that an arrest is warranted.) Dunn was bailed out of juvenile detention on Wednesday, according to a bond statement provided to The Daily News.
The shooting occurred when Vazquez was visiting Dawson at a residence on the 1500 block of Carroll Road in Kelso. Emergency personnel found Vazquez deceased at the scene.
According to court documents, Dawson told a Cowlitz County sheriff’s detective that Vazquez was chasing him around the house when he ran into a master bedroom and retrieved a shotgun from the closet. Dawson told the detective that he racked the gun to make sure it was unloaded and saw a round exit the chamber. Dawson said he then racked the gun again and thought it was empty.
Dawson also told a Cowlitz 2 Fire & Rescue employee that the boys had been “messing around” when he pointed the gun at Vazquez and pulled the trigger, according to court documents.
Dawson’s 12-year-old cousin was also at the residence but did not witness the shooting, according to court documents. She told the detective that she overheard Dawson tell Vazquez to stop chasing him in a “very playful” voice about two minutes prior to the shooting. She then heard what sounded like a “balloon pop,” followed by Dawson screaming to call 911. She asked Dawson why, to which he replied, “I shot Edgar!” according to court documents.
Investigators do not believe Dawson intentionally shot Vazquez, Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig told The Daily News on Monday. But Dawson declined to be interviewed under the advice of his attorney shortly after the shooting, so deputies don’t know why he pointed the gun at his friend.
“We, just like everyone, would like to know ... why (Dawson pointed the gun), but unfortunately we don’t have an opportunity to talk to him about it,” Rosenzweig said.