School killing about respect?

Tacoma police explore possible motive of Foss High shooting suspect

January 7, 2007 

Detectives are investigating whether a Foss High School junior shot a fellow student to death in a school hallway last week because he felt slighted in some way, a Tacoma police official said Saturday.

Douglas S. Chanthabouly, 18, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Samnang Kok, who was gunned down before first bell Wednesday.

Chanthabouly, who might be schizophrenic and taking anti-pyschotic drugs, has admitted to killing Kok but hasn’t told detectives why, according to court records.

“One of the rumors that’s out there is he felt disrespected in some way,” police spokesman Mark Fulghum said Saturday. “It has a little more credibility than some of the other things they’re looking at.”

Fulghum said detectives developed the theory after interviewing acquaintances of both teens, but investigators still can’t say for sure that’s the reason Chan-thabouly shot Kok. They still were looking into reports that the two had a dispute over money or property of some kind, Fulghum said.

Chanthabouly is “not talking, so we still don’t know,” he said.

Letters and a notebook seized by police during a search of Chanthabouly’s home Wednesday revealed no motive, Fulghum said.

“It was mostly just ramblings, scribblings, schoolwork, that kind of thing,” he said.

Police also confiscated a .38-caliber revolver, three boxes of ammunition and two blue bandannas during the search, according to court records.

They also seized a black handgun carrying case with a holster inside, a checkbook and another letter belonging to one of Chan-thabouly’s brothers.

Fulghum said the gun wasn’t found in Chanthabouly’s room, so detectives aren’t sure if it belongs to him or to someone else who lives in the house.

A relative told police last week that Chanthabouly was known to buy and sell guns and had taken firearms to school in the past, court documents state. Chanthabouly was carrying a 9 mm pistol when he was arrested Wednesday morning following the shooting at Foss.

Detectives believe Kok was killed with a 9 mm pistol.

Chanthabouly, who has pleaded not guilty, was being held in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

His next court appearance is scheduled for later this month.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644

adam.lynn@thenewstribune.com

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