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Originally published Thursday, August 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Police say South Seattle slaying is likely gang-related

Nearly 50 people gathered on a South Seattle sidewalk in Wednesday afternoon's muggy heat and bowed their heads in prayer, remembering the...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Nearly 50 people gathered on a South Seattle sidewalk in Wednesday afternoon's muggy heat and bowed their heads in prayer, remembering the 15-year-old boy who was fatally shot there Tuesday night.

Pierre "Pete" LaPoint was walking toward a bus stop in the 6300 block of Rainier Avenue South about 10:30 p.m. when police said he was shot in the stomach. The teen had spent the evening with friends in Rainier Valley and was catching a bus to his Skyway home when he was killed, said Teresa Paige, who describes herself as the slain teen's godmother.

Police say LaPoint's death was likely gang-related, but Paige said he only associated with gangs and was not a member. She said LaPoint attended a Renton-area alternative high school and was known around the neighborhood as "Pete the Sneak."

"He was caught up in the wrong mix," Paige said, after leading an emotional prayer service on the grassy sidewalk where LaPoint had been shot. LaPoint's friends set up a memorial — complete with flowers, a wooden cross, candles and a strip of yellow police crime-scene tape — at the shooting site.

Seattle police gang and homicide detectives are investigating the shooting. Police said the teen's friends said they didn't see the gunman.

"The victim's friends claim they don't know who it was [firing at the youth], and when the shots were fired, they ran off," said police spokeswoman Renee Witt. "There is no suspect description at all."

While standing around the memorial, friends remembered LaPoint's sense of humor and his dancing. LaPoint liked to dance and perform rap songs.

"I'm going to miss calling him," said Shuante Cook, 17. "He was a good kid."

DeJaunah Jones, 15, who said she has dated LaPoint for nearly two years, remembered him as "real goofy."

"He always had something to say," said a tearful Jones. Police are looking into whether the shooting is connected to an earlier confrontation in South King County, Witt said.

Renton police spokeswoman Penny Bartley said officers arrested three teenage boys for fighting at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park on Tuesday. The teens are known gang members, Bartley said.

Two hours after La Point was killed in South Seattle, police responded to another shooting near Othello Playground, about a mile to the south. A 29-year-old man, who was shot in the leg in the 4300 block of South Othello Street, is expected to survive, police spokesman Mark Jamieson said.

Gang-unit detectives are also investigating that incident and whether the two shootings are connected.

Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or jensullivan@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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