YAKIMA, Wash. — Authorities say a 16-year-old from Toppenish who was shot while allegedly assaulting residents while burglarizing their home is paralyzed, and it remains unclear if prosecutors will pursue charges as a result.
The teenager was wounded Aug. 11 after he was caught burglarizing a home on McKinley Road, Yakima County sheriff’s deputies said.
Deputies said the occupants of the home were asleep at the time and discovered the teenager in the act of burglarizing their home when they heard noises and went to investigate.
The homeowner then shot the boy once, deputies said.
Stew Graham, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said the teenager was paralyzed, although he didn’t know to what extent, and remains hospitalized at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. A spokesman for the hospital confirmed the boy remains there in serious condition.
The teenager’s name is being withheld by the Yakima Herald-Republic in part because of his age and because he hasn’t been charged.
Graham said his agency recently referred a suggested charge of first-degree burglary to the Prosecutor’s Office.
He said he did not know the status of the referral, but anticipated prosecutors may not pursue charges in the near future due to concerns over medical expenses the county would have to pay if it jails the teenager.
County Prosecutor Jim Hagarty said his office got the referral only on Thursday and that no decision has been made yet about charges.
The case recalls two shootings by Yakima police in 2011 that also resulted in delayed prosecutions due to concerns about county taxpayers being on the hook for extensive medical bills.
One of those cases involved Raymund P. Faucher, who suffered permanent injuries after he was shot in the head by a Yakima police officer responding to reports of a disturbance outside a branch of Bank of America.
Authorities never took Faucher into custody. He eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree assault and was sentenced to 30 days of home detention.
The other case involved a parolee from Toppenish named Lance Nanamkin, who was shot several times in the head during a shootout with Yakima police at the end of a chase in a stolen car.
Prosecutors initially filed charges, then dismissed the case due to concerns about Nanamkin’s medical costs.
Eventually prosecutors refiled charges. The case remains unresolved due to a dispute over Nanamkin’s competency to stand trial.