Crime - Sacto 911

Teen victim acquainted with alleged 13-year-old shooter for years, sheriff says

The 13-year-old suspected of shooting and killing 16-year-old Zachary Whittington in a Carmichael apartment Sunday had known Whittington for several years, a spokesman with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department said.

Sgt. Shaun Hampton referred to the two teens as “acquaintances” and said detectives believe Whittington’s death was not accidental.

Due to the suspect’s age, the Sheriff’s Department will not publicly identify him, Hampton said.

But Hampton said that the Sheriff’s Department is “familiar” with multiple members of the suspect’s immediate family.

“Some of (the suspect’s) family members are known gang members,” Hampton said.

The suspect was detained Sunday afternoon on Bourbon Drive near Scotch Court, less than a mile away from where Whittington’s body was discovered inside an apartment, according to a news release. A handgun found in a trash can near where the suspect was picked up has been collected as evidence, Hampton said.

“To have children of this age involved in criminal acts like this is unprecedented,” Hampton said. “It tugs at your heartstrings.”

Whittington’s family has established a GoFundMe page to help pay for his burial and to help them move to a new apartment.

The suspect is currently in custody at Sacramento County juvenile hall on suspicion of homicide, as well as firearm possession, Hampton said.

Children 13 years and younger cannot be tried in adult court in California.