17-year-old suspect in Tacoma teen’s murder appears in court

TACOMA, Wash. — Grief over the death of a 14-year-old boy as the teen now charged with murdering him makes his first court appearance.

17-year-old William Kalama is automatically being tried as an adult because of the seriousness of the crime.

Court documents show his girlfriend was in the vehicle when he allegedly pulled out a gun and fired at a group of teens who were waiting at a bus stop last Thursday.

We still don’t know the motive for the shooting. All we know is what his girlfriend told investigators: that he was “angry.” About what, we do not know.

What we do know is that the shooting of a 14-year-old boy at an east Tacoma bus stop has aroused fierce emotions across this city.

“This is so unreal. It’s unreal.”

You could easily hear the pain in Adrian Brown’s voice.

“That’s his best friend,” she said, pointing to her son. “Like one of my own kids. ‘Mom-Mom.’ That’s what he called me.”

Tuesday was the first time she said she could bear to come where 14-year-old Xavier Seiss was gunned down as he and three other teens waited for a bus. She says she heard the shots.

“School hours,” said Brown. “I was going to get my kids from school. And we heard the shots. And I had to rush or something. We hear every day in this neighborhood. Every day.”

Kalama is the person the Pierce County prosecutor says shot and killed Xavier.

“Good afternoon, sir,” said Pierce County Superior Court Judge Timothy Ashcraft. “Can you please state your name?”

“William Kalama,” said the suspect.

“What is your date of birth?” asked Judge Ashcraft.

“Three, nine 0 five,” Kalama said. March 9, 2005.

According to Pierce County Superior Court documents, Kalama’s girlfriend told detectives they had decided to go to a 7-11 on Portland Avenue to get snacks just before 3 p.m. last Thursday.

While driving, they passed a bus stop where four teenagers were waiting. She said her boyfriend “looked like he was angry.”

As she was looking over at the 7-11, she heard shots which “appeared to have come from inside her vehicle.”

She said Kalama then sped off.

Surveillance video shows Xavier dropped to the ground. Two teens fled. A fourth teen, another 14-year-old, tried performing CPR.

Seiss later died at Mary Bridge Children’s hospital.

“With his friends, waiting for the bus,” said Brown.

The pain of his loss, almost unbearable.

“It’s unreal, it’s unreal,” she lamented. “Innocence lost.”

She says she hopes the death of this innocent teenager will spur change to get guns out of the hands of the young.

Prosecutors say Kalama was convicted of robbery last year when he was just 16. He was barred from possessing firearms.

Now he is being held at the Pierce County Jail on $1.5 million bail.