10-Year-Old, Two Half-Brothers Charged in Robbery Try

Jennifer Sullivan, Seattle Times, August 20, 2010

A 10-year-old boy, who has been investigated numerous times by Seattle police since he was 8, was charged Friday in connection with a botched robbery aboard a Metro bus and an unrelated theft of a bicycle in June.

The boy and his two half-brothers, ages 12 and 14, were charged in King County Superior Court with first-degree attempted robbery in connection with Tuesday’s incident aboard the bus, in which the younger boy accidentally shot himself in the arm during a scuffle. The 10-year-old also was charged with second-degree robbery and intimidating a witness in connection with the theft of a bicycle June 24 in downtown Seattle.

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Over the past two years, the 10-year-old has been investigated 13 times for crimes that include theft, robbery with assault and robberies with a weapon, according to police. {snip}

Police say the three boys belong to the Down With The Crew gang in Seattle’s Rainier Valley.

According to Seattle police, the 10-year-old and his half-brothers confronted a 17-year-old boy on Metro’s Route 7 shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday. The 10-year-old ordered the older boy to empty his pockets while his half-brothers surrounded the victim, police said.

The 17-year-old told police the 10-year-old unzipped the older boy’s backpack and reached inside, where he carried a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun. The 17-year-old later told police he was afraid the younger boy was reaching for the gun.

The older boy grabbed the 10-year-old in a bear hug, and during the struggle a gunshot went off inside the backpack, wounding the younger boy in the arm, police said.

The 17-year-old was not arrested, and prosecutors say no decision has been made on whether he will be charged for having the handgun.

The 10-year-old and two other boys–not his half-brothers–also are accused of stealing bicycles from a group of youths outside the Levi’s Store in downtown Seattle on June 24.

According to police, the three boys told the victims they could have their bikes back only if they went into the nearby Macy’s store and stole some polo shirts, charging papers said.

When the victims refused, they were told that if they did not steal the shirts they would be beaten up, charges said. {snip}

The victims notified Macy’s store security, and Seattle police were called. The three suspects were arrested. In addition to the 10-year-old, the other two boys, ages 13 and 11, also have been charged with second-degree robbery and witness intimidation, prosecutors said.

Details of the 10-year-old’s remaining five cases referred to prosecutors have not been released by authorities. {snip}

Though the boy has been charged for the incident on the bus, there will be a special hearing to determine whether he will stand trial in that case as well as for the June robbery.

According to state law, children between the ages of 9 and 11 “are presumed to be incapable of committing crime” unless a judge determines the youth has the “sufficient capacity to understand the act or neglect, and to know that it was wrong.”

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