Crime & Courts

Gun that killed Wichita boy was in locked safe. Family didn’t know it was loaded.

Boy, 9, killed in shooting at south Wichita mobile home park

Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson talks about the fatal shooting of a 9-year-old boy inside of a mobile home at Stonegate, 2201 E. MacArthur, on Monday morning, Jan. 21, 2019.
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Wichita police Officer Charley Davidson talks about the fatal shooting of a 9-year-old boy inside of a mobile home at Stonegate, 2201 E. MacArthur, on Monday morning, Jan. 21, 2019.

A bedroom gun safe two young Wichita boys managed to open Monday was locked, a Wichita police spokesman said. But one of the guns inside was loaded unbeknownst to the family who lives in the home where an 11-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old friend.

Officer Charley Davidson, in a Tuesday email answering follow-up questions posed by The Eagle about the circumstances surrounding Roy’Ale Spencer’s death, described the safe as “a metal gun safe with a key lock built into the door.”

He said two rifle-style BB guns and one shotgun, which had ammunition in it, were locked inside. Roy’Ale and an 11-year-old boy who lives at the home somehow “were able to manipulate the locked gun safe open” and started playing with the weapons some time after the adults in the home left for work, he said.

Students in Wichita public schools were out of class Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

At some point while the 11-year-old was handling the shotgun, it discharged and Roy’Ale was hit. He died despite lifesaving efforts by one of three teenagers at home when the shooting happened, Davidson said. That teen also called 911.

Davidson said the family who lives at the house, in Stonegate mobile home park, “was unaware” that the shotgun had ammunition in it. The gun belongs to an older sibling who used to live at the mobile home, he said, and was legally owned.

“This is a sad and very tragic incident,” Davidson reiterated Tuesday, “The WPD sends its thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by this situation.”

The home sits in the southwestern corner of Stonegate, 2201 E. MacArthur, on a street called Pebble Lane. Stonegate is located near Hydraulic.

The boys were home with teenaged siblings — ages 16 and 14 — when the shooting happened. The 11-year-old boy lives at the home with his 14-year-old and 16-year-old sisters, a 9-year-old brother and his 33-year-old mother and his mother’s boyfriend, 35.

Roy’Ale Spencer and his 16-year-old brother, who were friends with the family, had spent the night.

Davidson said Monday morning at around 5 a.m., the mother and her boyfriend left the house to go to work. The mother took her 9-year-old son with her.

The 911 call about the shooting was made at 8:23 a.m. Officers responded about a minute later, police said Monday.

Roy’Ale was a fourth-grader at Clark Elementary, Wichita public schools district spokeswoman Susan Arensman said by email. The school, 650 S. Apache, has counselors on site for students and staff who might need support, she said.

A GoFundMe page set up by one of the boy’s aunts to raise money for his burial costs had collected more than $3,600 by early Tuesday afternoon. It’s seeking $10,000 in donations.



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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.

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