High schooler mistaken for burglar killed by homeowner; friends call for arrest
ARLINGTON, Wash. (KING) - A Washington homeowner fatally shot a graduating high schooler who showed up at his property in the middle of the night in what he says was self-defense. But the young man’s friends are calling for the homeowner to be arrested.
Friends of 19-year-old Todd Smith remember him as “the kindest soul you’ll ever meet.” The high school senior was at a graduation party Saturday night outside the Arlington, Washington, city limits. His friends say Smith wasn’t himself that night and describe him as “disoriented” as he headed out for a walk.
Smith somehow ended up at a neighbor’s house around 4 a.m. and was reportedly trying to get inside through a back door.
Police say the homeowner told the 19-year-old, who he thought was a burglar, to leave his property and warned him that he was armed. The homeowner says Smith moved toward him, so he opened fire, killing Smith in what he says was self-defense.
Smith’s friends are questioning that reasoning.
“He’s a 5-foot-6, maybe 140-pound kid. He wasn’t a threat at all,” friend Brandon Donahue said.
The group has started a Change.org petition demanding the shooter be arrested and charged with Smith’s death.
“If he was being defensive, then why did he need to shoot him twice? Why did he need to put two bullets in my friend? One would’ve stopped him,” friend Ashton Beidler said.
Investigators confirm Smith was shot two times.
Police say Washington law allows a homeowner to use deadly force if they feel their lives are in danger. The homeowner in the Smith case is cooperating with investigators and has not been arrested.
Smith would have graduated Thursday from Arlington High School. He planned to go to college to study computers. His friends say he leaves a void that can never be filled.
“We lost a very, very beautiful soul,” friend Madison Whiteley said. “He would always put other people before himself.”
Police say they’re continuing to investigate the incident.
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