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Arlington teen killed by a homeowner who police say mistook him for a burglar

The homeowner claims it was in self-defense, but the teen's friends don't believe it and are calling for the homeowner to be arrested. Police are investigating.

ARLINGTON, Wash — A 19-year-old man in Snohomish County was shot and killed after apparently being mistaken for a burglar. Now an investigation is underway to determine exactly what happened.

Friends of the man, Todd Smith, called him "the kindest soul you’ll ever meet." Smith was part of a tightly knit friend group at Arlington High School.

"I’m never gonna see him again," said friend Conner Buffon. "Never gonna hug him. I can’t tell him I love him."

Smith was at a graduation party Saturday night outside Arlington city limits when friends said he was not acting like himself. They described Smith as being "disoriented" and said he left the party to go out for a walk.

The neighborhood where the graduation party was is sparsely populated with homes on large lots with long driveways. Smith's friends said it is easy to get lost there.

Smith somehow ended up at a neighbor’s home around 4 a.m.

Police said the homeowner stated he heard pounding on his back laundry room door and believed someone was trying to break into his home. When the homeowner opened his slider adjacent to the back door, he saw a "shirtless stranger, pounding on his back door," according to police.

The homeowner told Smith to leave his property and warned him that he was armed. But instead, police said Smith advanced towards the homeowner, who then opened fire and killed the young man. The homeowner claimed self-defense in the deadly shooting.

Smith’s friends questioned that reasoning Monday.

"He’s a 5-foot-6-inch, maybe 140-pound kid," said Brendan Donahue. "He wasn’t a threat at all. He was lost."

Everett police are investigating the shooting because Smith's stepfather is a Snohomish County Sheriff's Office deputy.

The homeowner is cooperating with investigators and has not been arrested. Police said Washington law does allow homeowners to use deadly force if they feel their lives are in danger.

Still, Smith’s friends have doubts.

"If he was being defensive, why did he need to shoot him twice? Why did he need to put two bullets in my friend? One would’ve stopped him," said friend Ashton Beidler.

Investigators confirmed Smith was shot two times.

KING 5 attempted to reach the homeowner for comment Monday but did not hear back.

Smith's friends started a petition demanding the homeowner be arrested and charged with the young man’s death.

Everett police said the investigation is still open and active.

Smith would have graduated from Arlington High School on Thursday. He planned to go to college to study computers. His friends said he leaves a void that can never be filled.

"We lost a very, very beautiful soul," said friend Madison Whiteley.

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