Racial slur led to killing of innocent teen

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by ERIC WILKINSON / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on December 9, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 9 at 6:41 PM

KENT, Wash -- The family of 19 year old Jayme Thomas packed into the courtroom Friday, anxious to see the man accused of killing their loved one.

"He hurt my family more than words can describe, more than any feeling can describe. I just don't understand why someone could do that to such an innocent person," said Thomas's sister, Carley Espiritu.

By all accounts Jayme Thomas was an innocent bystander when 29-year-old Johnny Rourn allegedly opened fire into the car she was sitting in, killing her and wounding a friend.

In court, her father Joseph had just one question.

"I would ask him why. What was going through your head when all this happened?" he said.

Prosecutors now say a friend of Thomas shouted a racial slur at a group of black and Asian men at Redondo Beach that night. Court documents indicate Rourn admitted that one of those men took out a gun, handed it to him and he fired nine shots.

Prosecutors say Rourn has a previous gun charge and ties to a 2009 Renton shooting.

On Friday, he armed himself with the law, exercising his right not to appear in court, avoiding news cameras and the eyes of the people whose lives he is accused of ruining.

"He's probably ashamed of himself and didn't want to see us," said Espiritu with tears rolling down her cheeks. "But he's gonna have to see us sooner or later. He hurt all of us."

"This has put a hole in our hearts," said her father. "It's a void in our family. That hole, it's not being filled. No closure. None of that. Jayme's not coming home. She's not coming back."

Johnny Rourn is held at the King County Regional Justice Center on $1 million bail.

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