COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Two Brighton High School students were charged Monday in connection with the death of classmate Harley Jarrett, who was shot and killed last week when one of the teenagers allegedly fired a stolen gun.
The 16-year-old accused of firing the gun was charged with negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor. The other teen, also 16, was charged with reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor.
In addition, both boys were each charged with receiving stolen property valued at more than $5,000, a second-degree felony. All charges were filed in 3rd District Juvenile Court.
Cottonwood Heights police also reported Monday that they arrested a third teenager over the weekend in connection with the burglary of three guns, including the firearm that killed Jarrett, 17.
According to the petitions filed in juvenile court, the teenager who fired the gun told police that he, Jarrett and two other girls went to the home where the party occurred "so (the other boy) could show them his birthday present which was the gun." The teen told police that he didn't know the gun was loaded and pulled the trigger once.
The teenager charged with reckless endangerment told police that he got the gun from "a kid who stole it from a home by the skate park." He also told police he didn't know the gun was loaded.
"Also at the scene, (the alleged shooter) told the same officer, 'I shot Harley, it was an accident,'" the petition states. "'I was pulling the trigger and it went off.'"
Jarrett was in a group of three teenage boys and two 18-year-old girls who were gathered in the basement of a home at 6825 S. Pinerock Drive (3300 East) for a party to celebrate the end of the school year when the three boys left the room to look at a revolver that had been stolen, police said. Investigators say the teenager who had been given the gun took it out and the three passed it around. One of the teens pulled the trigger, striking Jarrett in the head.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Cottonwood Heights Police Chief Robby Russo said the two teens suspected in the burglary, Jarrett, and the two boys arrested in the shooting are all friends and are frequent visitors of the Richard L. Guthrie Skate Park, 2415 E. Bengal Blvd. The home where the guns were stolen is on Coachman Circle, near the skate park.
Russo said the home was burglarized and several items were stolen, including three firearms and some ammunition. Court documents indicate the burglary occurred May 24.
One juvenile has been arrested in that burglary and charges are pending against another, Russo said.
The chief also said the teenagers charged Monday admitted that the gun was given to them and that they knew it was stolen. He said it was also important to note that the serial number on the gun had been "manipulated."
Russo questioned whether the students really thought the gun was not loaded.
"I don't know that they knew it was empty," he said. "All I can tell you is he had a stolen gun and pointed it at his friend and pulled the trigger. You can see the cartridge on the side of a revolver."
Meantime, police are still trying to track down the two missing stolen firearms. Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Corbett Ford said the case has posed challenges for investigators, given the numerous underage individuals and items involved.
"Our concern is that we have two firearms we can't account for," he said. "Our investigators are doing everything possible, following up on every lead (and) spending a significant amount of man hours trying to track those guns down so we don't have another tragic occurrence like we did last week."
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