SEATTLE -- Two months after the shooting death of 12-year-old Alajawan Brown, King County's prosecutor says a career criminal killed the boy in a "case of mistaken identity and a case of revenge."
In a press conference Thursday, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Sheriff Sue Rahr detailed the events surrounding the fatal shooting in Skyway on April 29, 2010. Both called Brown a good kid who walked into in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"I want to make sure this community just doesn't jump to the conclusion that this is just another young man that was engaged in risky behavior and died as a result," said Rahr. "Alijawan could have been any kid... This young man wanted to play football badly. He came from a classic, traditional family. Mom and dad, everybody is still living at home."
Prosecutors on Thursday charged Curtis John Walker, a felon with a lengthy criminal history of selling drugs, domestic violence and possession of firearms dating back to the 1990's, with first degree murder. Prosecutors say he was on the streets because he got a break from a judge in a drug case and was out on parole.
"This child was murdered by a violent felon. He was shot in the back by a man he did not know in a case of mistaken identity," said Satterburg.
The 12-year-old moved to Washington from Texas with his family and did odd jobs to play football. He was mowing yards in the neighborhood so that he could pay the registration fee to play football. He was carrying new cleats he bought with money he earned when he was shot.
On that day in April, Brown stepped off a bus in Skyway and was hit by bullets. He went to a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store for help and later died.
At first deputies thought Brown was hit by a stray bullet - just another innocent kid caught in gang crossfire. But detectives made steady progress in the case and uncovered much more.
According to Satterburg, on April 29 King County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a shooting at Cedar Village Apartments located at the 6200 block of S 129th Street in Skyway.
Satterburg alleges Walker was involved in a gunfight with another party in the apartment complex's parking lots.
Moments later, Alajawan Brown was getting off a bus and walking home. Prosecutors claim Walker was driving and saw Brown and mistook him for someone Walker believed shot his friend, Jonathan Jackson, in the gunfight minutes earlier.
"It was almost easier to deal with when we thought he got caught in the crossfire,"says Alajawan's mother, Ayanna Brown. "But to know that somebody purposely aimed a gun at my baby's back..."
At the news conference, prosecutors say the 35-year-old felon got out of his car and shot the 12-year-old two to three times in the back. Brown went to the nearby 7-Eleven convenience store for help and later died.
Detectives say Walker drove away from the scene with his girlfriend in the car and proceeded to be involved in a hit-and-run car accident.
An eyewitness saw the suspect's car in the hit and run and followed the vehicle to the 29800 block of Naches Avenue SW in Renton. The witness took down the license plate number after seeing the driver, who authorities believe was Walker, stop near a grassy field and then return back into car.
At a press conference Thursday night, Ayanna Brown thanked the witness for having the courage to come forward. "We're glad you didn't say 'it aint none of my business,' because you know what? We are each others business," says Brown.
Detectives say they later found three handguns in that grassy field near SW 27th and Naches Avenue. The guns were submitted to the Washington State Crime Lab. Prosecutors say DNA skin cell evidence from the gun matched Walker's DNA.
Walker reportedly was arrested in May for a probation violation in an unrelated case. If convicted of first degree murder, Walker could face 35 - 45 years in prison.
Walker is scheduled to be arraigned on July 1, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. at the King County Courthouse. Prosecutors requested bail to be set at $5,000,000.