Marysville police officer Derek Carlile will appear in court June 5 for arraignment on charges of second-degree manslaughter in the accidental shooting of his daughter by his 3-year-old son.
7-year-old Jenna was killed with Carlile's handgun, which had been left in the family's van along with their four children, ages 7, 5, 3 and 1, while the parents, Derek and Forrest Carlile, made a brief stop in Stanwood on their way to a wedding on March 10.
The 3-year-old, who was known to have a fascination with his father's guns, apparently was riding in a booster seat in the van, rather than a car seat with more secure restraints.
According to the Affidavit of Probable Cause filed May 22 by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa D. Paul, Carlile "was in a hurry" on the day in question and, rather than strapping his off-duty weapon to his ankle or placing it in a locking compartment in the driver's door, the .38-caliber revolver was placed in an open bin on the floor of the van, between the two front seats, designed to hold cups and keys.
While the Carliles were outside the van having a brief conversation with artist Jack Gunter and delivering some business cards to him, they heard a "thud" coming from the van. They assumed one of the children kicked the side of the vehicle, but soon the 5-year-old girl got out of the van and "said something about the boy, Jenna and a gun."
The children had been unsupervised in the van for up to five minutes at the time of the accident.
Carlile rushed to the vehicle and found his 7-year-old daughter "slumped over in the middle of the bench seat, still buckled in." He immediately began administering aid while his wife and Gunter called 911.
Jenna Carlile was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, then transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, but she died shortly after midnight.
The Smith & Wesson weapon was found to have a key lock safety feature, which was in the "off" position when police found the gun in the van. It was fully loaded with five rounds of ammunition, although one of the rounds was spent.
The 3-year-old was described as an active boy who often played with toy guns and knew how to pull a trigger.
"Though the undeniable tragedy and grief that has stricken the defendant and his family is staggering, compassion must be balanced with accountability for the acts which caused it," wrote Paul in the affidavit.
"The defendant," Paul claims, "failed to heed or be aware of a substantial risk that death would occur when he placed and left his loaded, unsecured revolver in an enclosed van with four children inside. The defendant's failure to be aware of this substantial risk was a gross deviation from the standard that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation."
In a prepared statement, Carlile's attorneys David Allen and Cooper Offenbecher wrote that the police officer takes full responsibility for his daughter's death but that his actions were not criminal.
Carlile is expected to appear in court June 5 for arraignment on the manslaughter charge. Because he is not considered a flight risk or a danger to the community, prosecutors don't plan to ask for bail and Carlile, who lives on Camano Island, will be free on his own recognizance while awaiting trial.
He is on paid administrative leave from the Marysville Police Department.