The 14-year-old son of a D.C. police sergeant has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of his 16-year-old brother in their Charles County home. Police said Frank Ray Welch was killed by several shots fired from their father's .38-caliber service revolver.
Charles County police said Steven Welch was charged as an adult after he reported the shooting at about 6 p.m. Wednesday at the family home in the Bryans Road area. Police said they found Frank, the oldest of the family's three teen-aged boys, dead on the living room floor.
State's Attorney Stephen J. Braun said that testimony at a bond hearing yesterday afternoon indicated the older boy apparently had threatened Steven with a baseball bat during an argument that climaxed with the shooting.
The boys were alone in the house at the time and the gun lay in an easily accessible place in the living room, police said. Their father, Sgt. Francis Welch, 45, a member of the D.C. police department's disciplinary review board, was attending a local baseball game with his 15-year-old son.
Police said Brenda Welch, the boys' mother, arrived home shortly after they got to the house in the northwest part of the county.
Steven Welch was taken to the Charles County Detention Center. Frank was taken by ambulance to Physicians Memorial Hospital in La Plata, where he was pronounced dead.
Steven Welch, who appeared in court yesterday with his parents, was released after posting $15,000 bond. District Court Judge Robert C. Nalley set seven other conditions governing Steven's release, Braun said. While he is out on bond, Steven must be accompanied by at least one parent at all times, cannot attend classes at Lakey High School in Mason Springs, where he is a freshman, cannot be employed and must undergo psychiatric care. No firearms will be allowed in the house, according to the judge's order.
Braun said the case would be given to a grand jury next month.
D.C. Police Lt. Carl Alexander said a routine investigation will be conducted into misuse of a department weapon upon completion of the criminal investigation.