“Crazy” and “stupid” were the words 16-year-old Aaron Toleafoa’s girlfriend used to describe him to police after he allegedly shot someone during a string of carjackings.
Charged as an adult, Toleafoa pleaded not guilty Monday to first-degree attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and first-degree burglary.
He also pleaded not guilty to firearm theft, car theft, second-degree unlawful gun possession, obstructing police, making a false statement to police and taking a car without permission.
Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set his bail at $1 million.
The teen’s attorney didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
The alleged crimes happened in October, and Toleafoa was charged and arraigned in adult court this week, after a recent hearing in juvenile court.
Charging papers give this account:
Toleafoa’s troubles started Oct. 1 when his girlfriend’s neighbor told police someone had burglarized his home and taken an AR-15 rifle, magazines and his 2011 Toyota Tundra.
The girlfriend’s father called the neighbor to say he’d found the gun case in the girl’s bedroom, where he said Toleafoa, who was 15 at the time, had stored stolen items before.
The next day, Toleafoa and two others allegedly stole a car left running outside a house, carjacked a woman at gunpoint and finally shot a man in the chest as the teen tried to take the man’s vehicle in the 3600 block of East L Street in Tacoma.
The man had just dropped off his date and was about to drive away when the three approached and Toleafoa pointed an AR-15 with a green laser at the man’s head.
The teen shot the man when he reached for his own gun, wounding him in the chest.
Doctors determined no vital organs were hit when the bullet went through the man a few inches below his collarbone, breaking a bone in his shoulder and leaving him with no feeling in his right forearm or hand.
Several days later, police responded to reports of shots fired at an apartment complex, and found Toleafoa, who slipped a hand out of his cuffs and took off. Officers chased him over some fences, and one hit him with a stun gun, but he kept running.
Officers tackled the teen, punched him in the face and hit him with an elbow to arrest him.
Toleafoa gave a fake identity, deputies said, but the girlfriend who called him “crazy” and “stupid” helped them identify him.
It wasn’t immediately clear how old the other two robbers are or whether they were arrested and charged.
Toleafoa told police he didn’t know until he read about the shooting in the newspaper that the man he allegedly shot had survived.
He said he and his companions had tried to take the man’s car because they were low on gas.