Special to the Mountain News-WA
From James Lynch, Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office
Graham-Kapowsin Shooter Charged
TACOMA, WA – Today, Prosecutor Mark Lindquist announced the alleged gunman in the drive-by shooting that happened last week near Graham Kapowsin High School has been charged.
Ronald Ackerson, 16, turned himself in yesterday afternoon at Remann Hall. He is charged with two counts of assault in the first degree, drive-by shooting, and unlawful possession of a firearm. Under Washington state law, he will be tried as an adult because of the seriousness of the crime.
“We have zero tolerance for gun violence at or near our schools,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “We’re committed to protecting our youth.”
On December 4, 2017, P.W. exchanged words with another student, D.B, following an altercation between P.W.’s girlfriend and D.B.’s friend. P.W. threatened D.B. later in the day by telephone, telling D.B., “It’s all bad for you tomorrow.”
The next day P.W.’s girlfriend told D.B. to contact P.W. So, D.B. did this via Snapchat. P.W. and D.B. agreed to fight behind the school.
When D.B. showed up at the back of the school, he saw three people step out of a green Chevrolet Impala, Ackerson, P.W. and W.G. The group exchanged insults with D.B. There was, however, no fight.
P.W., W.G., and Ackerson got back into the green Impala. The tires screeched and Ackerson, sitting in the front passenger seat, leaned out the window and fired several shots.
Two students, bystanders, were struck by the bullets. Student J.S.M.,16, was shot in the leg. He made it to the locker room of the school and was treated at a local hospital for his injury.
Staff found student K.C-S., age 17, lying near the back of the school in a parking lot. He had bullet wounds to the lower left side of his abdomen. He was in critical condition, but is now stable.
Witnesses told police that P.W. was the back seat passenger and W.G. was driving when Ackerson shot both students.
“It’s unlawful for unsupervised juveniles to possess handguns,” Prosecutor Lindquist said. “This case is another example why. If the defendant didn’t have a gun, this would just be another minor high school skirmish.”
P.W. and W.G, held at Remann Hall since the night of the shooting, have been released with no charges filed pending further investigation.
Ackerson’s grandmother called police and turned him in. She told investigators she had seen her grandson on the news, was concerned for him, and knew this was serious.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Editor’s Note: Remann Hall is a juvenile detention facility, located in western Tacoma.