Kent-Meridian High School student remained in custody Monday for armed robbery: Developing story

A 15-year-old Kent-Meridian student remained in juvenile custody in Seattle Monday, after Kent Police arrested him Sept. 17 for investigation of armed robbery.

The incident took place Sept. 11 at the McDonald's parking lot across from the school. Four students reported that they had been robbed of their cell phones at gunpoint by another teen.

The student turned himself in Sept. 17 to a Kent Police officer who works at Kent-Meridian as a school resource officer, after word spread that detectives were looking for the boy, said Sgt. Pat Lowery in a phone interview Sept. 20.

The boy reportedly displayed a handgun and robbed three Kentwood High students and one Kent-Meridian student of their cell phones at about 11 p.m. Sept. 11 when they stood in the parking lot of the McDonald's restaurant, 10125 S.E. 256th St. The restaurant sits across from Kent-Meridian and French Field, where earlier that night Auburn Riverside and Kent-Meridian played a football game.

Meanwhile, police continue to look for two teens or young men involved in a separate armed robbery of cell phones from two high school students at about 10 p.m. Sept. 11 near 116th Avenue Southeast and Kent Kangley Road, Lowery said.

Detectives do not believe the Kent-Meridian boy was connected to the earlier incident.

"It is very similar with two cell phones taken from two victims and a gun was displayed," Lowery said.

Police only have general descriptions of the suspects as two black males in their teens or early 20s.

In the McDonald's robbery, a week of interviews and investigations gave police enough information to track down a suspect.

"After interviews with witnesses and looking at videos from McDonald's and the Union 76 service station we narrowed it down to an individual," Lowery said. "We also had been to a residence where the boy had stayed, so the focus was on him. He later came forward."

Police do not have the gun allegedly used during the incident. The boy told police it was a pellet gun and that he no longer had the gun. Lowery said pellet handguns look similar to handguns that shoot bullets.

"Even a trained officer has a difficult time telling the difference," he said.

Kent Police have increased patrols on the weekends near Kent-Meridian as well as along Kent-Kangley Road on the East Hill in an effort to provide better protection of residents and to find the suspects in the robbery near 116th Avenue Southeast.

"We have extra officers in uniform and not in uniform in the area to create a greater presence and for more eyes for suspects in the other robbery," Lowery said. "We will continue extra patrols on weekends. There are a lot of kids that hang around in that area on the weekends."

The police resource officer at Kent-Meridian as well as Kent School District security patrol football games at French Field. Lowery said no extra police have been added to French Field.

"We have not had problems at games or on the school campus," Lowery said.

Lowery added that there were no incidents on or off the Kent-Meridian campus after a Sept. 17 football game at the school between Kentridge and Kent-Meridian.

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