More details released in Hesston teen shooting death

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By Adam Strunk

Police continue to interview witnesses and investigate the motive for the shooting death of a 14-year-old Hesston girl that took place at a gathering of teenagers in Newton on July 11.

“We’re still trying to figure out the motive of why,” Newton Deputy Police Chief Scott Powell said. “That’s part of what we’re trying to investigate.”

Police responded to a report of a shooting in the 900 Block of S Walnut in Newton shortly after 10 p.m. and found a victim, a 14-year-old female, dead. After interviewing witnesses and a search the following day, they arrested a 16-year-old Newton male on suspicion of the murder.

Powell said, from interviews, police think that there were between three and five people in the house at the time of the shooting.

“It was a very small gathering,” Powell said. “The suspect showed up, started waving a gun.”

Powell said witnesses reported the suspect being intoxicated at the time.

The suspect then shot the victim. Powell declined to say how many times the suspect shot. He said that police believe a handgun was used in the killing. He did not answer questions about if a gun had been recovered, stating that the criminal investigation was still in its early stages.

As to how a 16-year-old boy got a handgun, Powell said that aspect of the case was also still under investigation.

He said no adults were at the house at the time. He did say there was no indication that the gathering of the juveniles was “a drinking party.”

Powell didn’t have any answers yet as to the relationship of those involved.

“They found themselves at the same house at the same time,” he said. “We don’t know if they knew each other in the past. We know they must have had common friends at the time.”

He said the arrest of the suspect occurred peacefully.

“We got information where the suspect was. We’ve obviously been looking for him since 10 last night,” he said.

Powell said the individual was being held on pending charges for murder, though he didn’t know the specific charge.

Harvey County Attorney Jason Lane’s office will decide if and what formal charges will be filed in the case.

The names of the suspect and victim were not released. The Newton Police Department, as policy, does not release the names of juveniles involved in criminal cases, nor the names of the victims of crimes.

Powell said his department feels “the shock of how tragic it is to lose someone that young for something that is avoidable.”

More information will be added when it becomes available.

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