SEATTLE — A South Seattle neighborhood is on edge Saturday night after a fatal shooting at a popular park. Police say the shooting was not gang related but it might be tied to a shooting on a beach less than a mile away.
The father of the 17-year-old teen killed early Saturday morning in a random shooting says he was a Franklin High School student, just two weeks from graduation.
Ryan Dela Cruz was shot as he and friends were telling ghost stories at the Martha Washington Park along Lake Washington.
Seattle police think he was just standing in the wrong place when the bullets started flying. But that is little comfort to his parents, who came to see the place where he was shot.
"Since the officer came and knock (on) the door, maybe this morning, 4 o'clock," said Henry Tacazuon.
That is how Tacazuon got the worst news of his life -- that the youngest of his four sons had been shot. Soon afterwards, Ryan was dead.
"He didn't make it," Tacazuon said, his voice breaking.
Seattle police say they began receiving 911 calls just after 1 a.m. Saturday. Four 17-year-olds were in the Martha Washington Park. Another group was there, too. Something happened between them, a car drove up and someone opened fire into the woods.
"We do not believe that the young man was targeted in anyway," said Asst. Chief Marc Garth Green. "We believe this to be an isolated incident that occurred there."
His father says Ryan was to graduate from Franklin High School in just two weeks and planned to join the Marine Corps soon after that.
Now his mother is laying a memorial to him at this tree in a park neither parent had heard of. His father says he moved from his native Philippines just nine years ago because he believed he and his family would be safer here.
"Yeah, this is America," Tacazuon said. "Yeah, good opportunities here. But, I don't know what's happening in here."
Incredibly, his father says he forgives the person who killed him.
But Seattle police want to know who that person is. They are checking to see if this is tied to a shooting earlier Friday night at Pritchard Island Beach. They are asking anyone who has information to call 911.
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