Former Edmonds-Woodway student, 17-year-old Gala Zuehlke, was found dead in the bedroom of her apartment on Friday, Nov. 30 from a single gunshot wound to the head. Prior to her death she was a senior enrolled full time at Edmonds e-Learning Academy.
A 16-year-old boy from Mountlake Terrace, who last attended MTHS, is being tried as an adult for first-degree manslaughter in the Snohomish County Superior Court. He plead not guilty at his arraignment in court.
Police report that the boy and Zuehlke knew each other and had been reported as missing by his parents around ten days before the shooting took place.
Before the boy was taken into custody, the police had been investigating Zuehlke’s death as an accident. However, Zuehlke’s mother, Amanda Intveld, believes that the death of her daughter was not accidental. Intveld has never met the suspect but claims that her daughter and the boy were not romantically involved.
Police reports state that the boy shot Zuehlke while playing with a revolver in a unit of Edmonds’ Horizon Park Apartments. He was apprehended and taken into custody by police on Monday, Dec. 3 after an investigation led authorities to the boy in a house on Maltby Road. Court documents report that the boy was staying at the house while preparing to flee to Oregon and was arrested in the driveway of the house just as he and his friend were about to drive away.
On Dec. 4, the boy appeared in court Juvenile Court where he was formally charged with first-degree manslaughter by Judge George Appel, who also ruled that he represents a “threat to community safety.” However, Appel ruled that he could be released on $100,000 bail on the condition that he remain either under house arrest or be accompanied by his parents at all times.
On Friday, Dec. 7, prosecutors presented chargers of first-degree manslaughter against the boy when he was arraigned in Snohomish County Superior Court. This was after his case was turned over to adult court because of the nature of the boy’s crime and his age.
An unidentified 15-year-old close friend of Zuehlke initially reported to police that she had found Zuehlke’s body in the apartment with what she recognized as a gunshot wound. However, the friend later changed her story and revealed that she was present in the bedroom of the apartment along with Zuehlke and the shooter when the shooting occurred.
According to court documents, the witness was in Zuehlke’s apartment on Friday when the boy came over with a silver revolver and bullets that he had stolen. The boy allegedly put one bullet into the gun and spun the cylinder while he pointed the revolver at various objects and people in the room, pulling the trigger while the chamber of the gun was empty. Both girls allegedly told him to take the bullet out of the chamber, but he ignored them. However, the witness believes that the boy did not know that the bullet was advanced toward the firing chamber each time the trigger was pulled.
Eventually, the gun fired when the boy had the revolver pointed at Zuehlke’s head. Court documents report that the boy told Zuehlke that “nothing is going to happen” before he pulled the trigger and fired the shot that killed Zuehlke.
After Zuehlke was shot, the witness reportedly checked her for a pulse, and, realizing that she was dead, ran back to her father’s house. The father of the girl then called 911 and police soon arrived at the apartment, although the boy had since fled the scene.
The boy currently resides at Snohomish County jail with a $500,000 bond. His trial is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2019.