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Mukilteo shooter’s lawyer says tragedy was ‘compounded by the tools’ available

The lawyer of a 19-year-old accused of killing three people during a party in Mukilteo took time in court to note how easy it was for his client to get his hands on a gun.

“It’s a tragedy,” Attorney Tim Leary told KIRO Radio. “And in many respects, it’s a tragedy compounded by the tools that were available in this incident.”

Allen Ivanov allegedly went to a party July 30 with an AR-15 rifle and opened fire. Three people, including his ex-girlfriend, were killed. A fourth person was injured.

Ivanov seemed depressed recently after he and his ex-girlfriend broke up. He reportedly did not like seeing is ex-girlfriend with other men.

Related: Brady Campaign explains who they want to bar from accessing guns

Leary stressed in court that his client was able to buy a gun at the age of 19.

“It’s not black or white,” Leary said. “Obviously, if he didn’t have the firearm this could have been a different case. Is the firearm responsible? Well, no.”

KIRO 7 reports that Ivanov could face the death penalty.

“Ultimately, the state is going to bring evidence that suggests my client is the person responsible,” he said. “But is this what really makes the most sense — when we have a situation where we talk about brain development, and kids, and mental illness and a whole host of issues — to have an AR-15 that is that readily accessible, the stakes and the consequences are that much higher?”

As he spoke for the accused Mukilteo shooter in court, Leary noted that the age to consume alcohol is 21, but people can buy guns at the age of 18.

“The thing that struck me in this case is that my client, who is 19 years old, is accused of a horrific crime and it’s alleged that he purchased an AR-15 when he was 19,” Leary said. “Somebody who is 19 years old, if he would have attempted to buy a six-pack of beer on his way to this party, he would have been turned away.”

Access to firearms

Leary said that there were incidents of depression in the past for Ivanov, but he did not have the exact timeline as it relates to the shooting.

“Let’s say that he went in the morning he purchased the firearm and a doctor said he was suffering from a major depressive disorder — that would not be a bar from possessing or owning a firearm,” Leary said.

“There’s a reason why we have this endless debate – there are no easy answers,” Leary said. “This is just not a good situation, and it’s a situation made worse by the weapon that he possessed.”

“I’m just noting the disturbing fact that we don’t trust 20-year-olds to own, possess or consume alcohol, but they could walk in and buy an AR-15 with no training at all — no significant background inquiry,” he said.

Leary said that he has received pushback after his comment in court about the availability of the firearm. He said that people argue that 19-year-olds can serve in the military and handle guns — the same age as the alleged Mukilteo shooter.

“I don’t necessarily disagree,” Leary said. “Whether you were drafted to go to Vietnam, or you volunteered and served in Iraq – there’s a selection process and psychological screening and an immense amount of training and respect that goes into handling a firearm.”

On the other hand, Leary said his client was unfamiliar with the AR-15, and reportedly read the gun’s user manual in the car before he allegedly carried out his shooting.

“The police reports suggest that my client read an instruction manual on how to operate the gun before he went into that house,” Leary said. “Ultimately, my client’s responsibility will be determined down the road. But is this the best system, and what can we learn from this situation? The loss, in this case, is immeasurable to my client’s family, to the victims and their families, and the community as a whole.”

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