It was a crime both "tragic and senseless," say prosecutors. David Peterson, 54, was out for a walk in his Seattle neighborhood on Feb. 23 when police say high school student Byron White tried to steal his cellphone, the Seattle Times reports. Peterson fought off the teen and called police, but informed the 911 operator that his assailant had doubled back, apparently after hearing Peterson place the call, per an affidavit. That's when White, 17, allegedly shot Peterson in the chest; police arrived minutes later to find Peterson dead in a pet shop parking lot, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. The teen later told friends "the man had seen his face, and he had to shoot him," a detective alleges.
"That the evidence shows he was murdered for his cellphone by a teenager with a gun makes this all the more tragic and senseless," says a King County prosecutor. It gets worse: The detective says White "showed his companions the phone he had finally taken from the man and expressed his disappointment that it was not a nicer model." White, who police say confessed to the crime, was nabbed trying to board a flight to Atlanta and has been charged with first-degree murder as an adult. (Another tragic phone-related story making news this week: A teen was killed after trying to retrieve her phone from train tracks.)