Teen accused of shooting 14-year-old Tacoma boy pleads not guilty in court

A teen accused of shooting and killing a 14-year-old near a Tacoma bus stop last Thursday is facing several charges, including first-degree murder.

Tacoma Police say William Kalama, 17, was arrested Monday and made his first appearance in Pierce County Court. He was quiet in court, appearing on video during the hearing. He pleaded not guilty to seven counts, including first-degree murder, drive-by shooting and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Court documents show that detectives identified him as a suspect by watching surveillance video. It showed a silver Honda, with front passenger quarter panel damage, driving by a group of about five young people at the bus stop, including the victim. The driver was then seen opening fire at the group of teens, killing one of them.

Documents state that the car, "passed the juveniles and started approaching the light, but then stopped and reversed.... a handgun was seen protruding from the driver's side window." 

Patrol officers eventually found the vehicle and detectives found the registered owner. Court documents state that she told investigators that the car belonged to her granddaughter. 

Investigators then went to talk to the granddaughter. Documents say that when pressed, she said her boyfriend ‘William’ had been driving it. During a later interview, she said they went to the 7-11 for snacks.

On Portland Avenue East, she said they passed a bus stop and her boyfriend looked like "he was angry". Shortly after, as she was looking at the 7-11, she told investigators that she heard shots fired from inside her vehicle. According to court documents, her boyfriend then sped off.

She denied speaking with him until they got to her residence, indicating that he left on foot.

"She also confirmed that the vehicle had shell casings in it that she possibly touched….later identified defendant Kalama as being her boyfriend via a photo," read the court docs. "It was later determined that defendant Kalama lived on the same street. Detectives located and arrested defendant Kalama on January 16, 2023. He was found to be in possession of a .38 caliber handgun at the time of his arrest."

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Teenager arrested, charged in fatal shooting of 14-year-old boy in Tacoma

Meantime, the memorial at the bus stop where family members say Xaviar Siess was shot off Portland Ave East has grown larger. 

We spoke to Xaviar's aunt, Alyivia Siess, after she brought his young cousins to place flowers at the memorial Friday. She says all the kids in the family were close. 

"They used to go over to my mom’s house and him and his sister would come, and then my kids, and they all would spend birthdays and everything together. Yeah, so it’s been really hard, really hard for the little ones especially," said Siess. 

Alyivia said she was told that Xaviar was walking to the store to get candy or food when he was killed. Tacoma Police say last year, there were 42 homicides—40 of them involving a gun. Xaviar's shooting death was the first of the year in Tacoma in 2023.

ALSO READ: Third teen shot in Tacoma in less than a week

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"I walk to the store every day, I live across the street and I feel sorry for his family – My condolences go to his family. You know what I’m saying? And hopefully they can pull through it," said Monique Anderson, a neighbor who lives near the bus stop. 

Kalama's next court date has been scheduled for Feb. 16.