TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged 13-year-old Christopher Elijah Rice with two counts of assault in the second degree, unlawful possession of a firearm the second degree, possession of a stolen firearm and trafficking stolen property in the first degree. Rice stole his grandfather’s guns and pointed one of them at fellow students. He pleaded not guilty in Juvenile Court and is being held at Remann Hall.
“Our schools should be safe havens,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
On Oct. 28, 2015, two students were waiting at their bus stop in Spanaway when they noticed Rice standing in a nearby yard, pointing a rifle at them. The students were afraid they would be shot and quickly walked to another bus stop.
When they arrived at Cedarcrest Junior High, the students told school officials what had occurred at the bus stop. Rice was summoned to the administrative offices, but fled when confronted about the gun. Officials convinced Rice to return and they called the police.
Rice admitted to having the rifle and told deputies where they could find it. While searching a nearby area, deputies found a .22 caliber rifle and a backpack containing a significant amount of ammunition.
Deputies contacted Rice’s grandfather, whom he was living with, and the grandfather confirmed the gun was stolen from his safe. He also told deputies that two other firearms and some ammunition were missing. In Rice’s room, deputies found the stolen key for the gun safe and additional ammunition.
Rice told deputies he sold the two missing guns to fellow students. He sold one for vaping paraphernalia, and the other for $120 cash, an ounce of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The Sheriff’s Department is continuing to investigate the missing firearms.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Communications and Public Information Coordinator
Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office