PITTSBURGH (AP) – A 13-year-old fatally shot his grandparents in their home because he was upset that they called his mother a whore and “were speaking poorly about her,” state police said in charges filed Tuesday.
Zachary James Proper, of Oil City, was charged with criminal homicide for the weekend shootings of Dorothy and George Fross.
According to the criminal complaint by troopers in northwestern Pennsylvania, Proper’s parents, Ryan and Karen Kapp, called Oil City police Monday night because they were concerned that their son had gotten drunk and high on Sunday night and had stolen a car belonging to his grandparents. The Kapps called police because they could not reach the Frosses by phone and because Proper told them that “his friend had shot and killed his grandparents,” the complaint said.
The Oil City police chief went to the Frosses’ home and questioned the boy, who acknowledged shooting his grandparents, authorities said. The state police were eventually called because they have jurisdiction in the township where the grandparents lived about 70 miles north of Pittsburgh.
The boy has been arraigned by a district judge in Franklin and ordered held without bond, which is standard in Pennsylvania homicide cases. The Associated Press left messages with his parents and Neil Rothschild, an attorney apparently representing the family.
According to state police, the boy said he was visiting his grandparents on Sunday afternoon and that his grandfather had gotten a four-wheeler out of the barn for him before leaving to go to the store and get pizza. Once in the barn, the boy told investigators he saw a pair of bolt cutters, which he used to cut a lock off his grandfather’s gun safe and took out a handgun.
The boy told police he “walked up behind his grandmother, put his iPod earphones in, pointed the gun at his grandmother about shoulder height, turned his head away and raised the gun slightly and shot her,” the complaint said.
After shooting the woman, Proper called his grandfather and told him he’d help him carry in items from the store when he returned. When that happened about 10 minutes later, the boy took the pizza from his grandfather before shooting him in the shoulder. After the man went down and yelled, Proper “indicated that he then `dumped the gun until it jammed’ meaning that he kept shooting his grandpa,” the complaint said.
Asked to explain the shootings, the boy told police “that he was mad at his grandparents because they had called his mother a whore and were speaking poorly about her.” Police didn’t explain the context of those remarks or provide further details.
Proper told police he took his grandparents’ car and drove to Oil City, where he threw the gun in a storm drain, according to the complaint. Police did not immediately say whether they recovered the weapon.
He then went to his cousin’s home where he spent the night and partied without telling his cousin and others what he had done, the complaint said.
Police said their interview with the boy and his parents ended when a defense attorney who had been contacted by Karen Kapp told the family members to stop speaking with the police. The defense attorney was identified in the complaint as Rothschild, of Oil City.
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