Yakima teen arrested for fatal Macy’s stabbing will not be charged
UNION GAP, Wash. — The Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office will not charge a 15-year-old for the stabbing death of a 16-year-old after an investigation shows his actions were in self-defense.
According to a press release sent by the prosecutor’s office, they determined the teen was “lawfully defending himself from his attackers while in the Macy’s bathroom.”
On July 6, 2019, police say the teen and two of his friends were at the Union Gap Mall. Another group – all but one being teens – were there as well. Surveillance video showed the group following the three teens into Macy’s, followed them around the store and into the bathroom.
The group confronted the teens. One of them, 16-year-old David Reyes Jr., confronted the 15-year-old suspect. Police later got a search warrant for their cell phones, one showing the fight and homicide.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the group of five were shouting and asked the 15-year-old if he “banged and “who do you represent.”
Prior, surveillance footage in the parking lot showed the suspect wearing a Houston Rockets hat and a red shirt. However, police said the teen and his friends are not involved in a gang or gang activities. Police say the group of five is believed to be involved in gang activity and they were wearing blue.
In the bathroom, they asked the teen to take off his hat and he refused. That’s when one of them knocked the suspect’s hat off and hit him in the head several times, the press release said.
That’s when the 15-year-old pulled out a knife. He said he saw several of them reach towards their waist.
“Someone in the group of five also can be heard saying ‘get out of the strap’ – referring to a gun,” the press release said.
The teen believed they were reaching for a gun. That’s when he stabbed Reyes as he allegedly went towards the teen. He was stabbed in the stomach.
Everyone ran out of the bathroom. Someone in the group carried Reyes out of the mall. He died shortly after. The prosecutor’s office determined the teen’s actions were in self-defense.
“This aggressive confrontation perpetrated upon the three unwitting nature of the assault and potential presence of a firearm by the group of five boys wearing blue would prevent conviction by a reasonable and objective fact finder,” prosecutor Joseph Brusic said. “In this incident, it was clear from all the evidence that T.C. [suspect] was in fear for his life.”
Brusic said the teen was already assaulted in the bathroom, in a closed space where the teen and his friends were outnumbered. The 15-year-old said he believed he saw the slide of a gun on one of them.
The teen told police that he “had to protect myself, it was either my life or me protecting myself.”
The prosecutor’s office said the teen had no other choice under the set of facts.
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