A 15-year-old boy accused of fatally shooting his father in their condominium near Scripps Ranch denied allegations of murder and the use of a gun in Juvenile Court Thursday, and a judge ruled that the boy should remain in custody because he poses a danger to the community.
Deputy Public Defender Tanya Starkweather entered the denials on behalf of her client in a hearing before Judge Aaron Katz.
The boy’s mother, brother, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and the brother’s girlfriend attended the hearing.
The judge granted a request that the boy’s mother and brother be able to visit the boy on one occasion outside of normal visiting hours. The boy’s family plans to bring him contact lenses, Starkweather said.
A readiness hearing was set for May 18.
Thanh Pham, 46, was gunned down a little before 8:40 p.m. Sunday, San Diego police homicide Lt. Anthony Dupree said. Responding officers found him bleeding from at least one gunshot wound on the floor of a bedroom inside the condo at 11215 Affinity Court in the Miramar Ranch North neighborhood. Pham was pronounced dead at the scene.
The 15-year-old suspect had fled from the condo on foot before police arrived, but he was arrested about 1 a.m. Monday, roughly two miles from his family’s dwelling, after someone spotted him on Scripps Poway Parkway near the I-15, Dupree said. He was allegedly arrested with a handgun in his waistband and dozens of rounds of ammunition in his backpack.
Footage from several news cameras at the scene showed officers taping brown paper bags around the suspect’s hands, presumably to preserve possible gunshot residue evidence. Cameras also captured officers collecting evidence on the hood of a patrol vehicle that included a black handgun, at least two ammunition clips and two boxes of bullets.
Deputy District Attorney Mary Loeb sought and was granted a protective order for body-worn camera evidence.
After the suspect was booked into jail, he complained of injuries and taken to a hospital out of precaution, Dupree said.
Contrary to some initial news reports, Dupree said investigators had no evidence suggesting the teen was planning any other violence, including at Mira Mesa High School, where he is a sophomore.
—City News Service
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