A Roy man is believed to have killed his 12-year-old nephew with a machete Sunday and then fatally shot himself while driving out of the neighborhood, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.
Neighbors said they saw Christian Brayton, 27, drive a pickup truck away from the home he shared with his father and nephew in the 2500 block of 302nd Street Court South.
Brayton drove less than two miles before apparently shooting himself in the head while driving, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. The pickup plowed through a fence on Joint Base Lewis-McChord property in the 1700 block of 288th Street South.
The incident appeared to be a traffic accident until the gunshot wound was discovered.
About two hours later, 911 dispatchers received a call from neighbors in Roy who reported hearing a distraught man screaming about his son killing his grandson.
Deputies found 12-year-old Jesse Brayton unconscious when they arrived about 3:15 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene, but it was not immediately clear what time the boy died.
Investigators quickly linked the cases because of the address.
His grandfather said he last saw his son and grandson Saturday night.
“They got along and were playing video games the last he knew,” Troyer said. “We don’t know why he took a machete to the boy and killed him.”
Detectives found a gun in the car and a machete in the house.
A motive has not been established, but Brayton is believed to have suffered from mental health problems.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653