After Fatal Rock Throw, Teen Allegedly Took Photo of Car

As a 'memento,' police say he told them
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Teen Accused of Fatal Rock Throw Allegedly Took Pic of Car
From left, Zachary Kwak, Nicholas Karol-Chik, and Joseph Koenig.   (Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

One of the teens accused of throwing a rock through the car windshield of Colorado 20-year-old Alexa Bartell, killing her, allegedly took a picture of Bartell's car "as a memento," police say. Suspects Joseph Koenig, Nicholas "Mitch" Karol-Chik, and Zachary Kwak, all 18, allegedly told police that at least two of them have been throwing rocks at objects on at least 10 separate occasions since February, and police say that on the night of April 19 they hit several vehicles with landscaping rocks. Kwak allegedly told investigators the rock hitting Bartell's car sounded like a "rail gun." After it hit, Kwak, who was allegedly the one to actually throw the rock, said "We have to go back and see that," Karol-Chik allegedly told investigators. Once they got back to the scene, he told police, Koenig slowed down so Kwak could take a photo, CNN reports.

Asked why by police, Kwak allegedly said he thought "Joseph or Mitch would want it as a memento," according to arrest affidavits released Thursday. After taking the photo, police say the three took a "blood brothers" oath to never speak of what had happened, NBC News reports. Karol-Chik allegedly told police he felt a "hint of guilt" about Bartell after seeing her car. Police have not speculated on a motive, but a friend of Koenig's, who was briefly with the trio that night until they started allegedly putting landscaping rocks in their truck, allegedly told police Koenig "likes causing 'chaos'" and is often "destructive." The friend who was on the phone with Bartell until the call suddenly cut out tracked her phone to the scene, where she found Bartell unresponsive and called 911 and Bartell's mom. (More Colorado stories.)

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