Friend recalls shooting of Parker

The accidental shooting of Hylton High School star linebacker James Parker on Friday night highlights the problems associated with illicit handgun possession, said a man who lives at the intersection across from where the shooting occurred. “It should be a lesson to all these young kids that guns kill people,” said Dennis Lawrence, 25. “They’re not toys.”

Parker’s close friend Joey Delgado, 16, of Mahoney Drive has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless handling of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a person under 18, in connection with the shooting.

Parker was killed when a gun Delgado was showing him accidentally went off, police said. He was the passenger in a black 2002 Honda Accord parked at the intersection of Mahoney and Macwood drives in Dale City.

The gun was pointed toward Parker, known affectionately as “Bear,” according to the car’s driver, Jamie Guidry, 16, of Dale City. Feeling uncomfortable with the gun pointed in their direction, Guidry said, he turned his head to look straight out the windshield.

“Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Bear smack the gun away,” Guidry said. “That’s when I heard the gun go off.”

The weapon had a hair trigger, Guidry said, meaning that the trigger was very sensitive to touch.

Delgado, one of Parker’s closest friends, lives on Mahoney Drive. Parker came by frequently to visit, Lawrence said. He was going to be the godfather of Delgado’s baby daughter when he turned 18 on April 15, both Guidry and Lawrence said. The boys had been best friends since middle school, and often played football in the street with friends.

Police could provide no information Tuesday about the type of gun involved, nor where the gun came from.

The gun was a .22 caliber, Guidry said. He believes it was a Ruger, but did not know where Delgado got it.

“He just looked at me ” Guidry said of Parker’s reaction to the shooting. “His eyes were real wide.”

After the shooting, Guidry — who police identified only as the 16-year-old driver — got out and ran, according to police. Delgado then jumped in and drove to the Hillendale Fire Station to get medical help for Parker.

But Guidry’s cellular phone was on the other side of Parker’s body. Because he did not want to move his friend in any way, he jumped out and ran to a car full of friends, which was parked behind them, to tell them to call 911, he said. Before he could get back to be with Parker, Delgado had driven off.

“It really hurts me that I didn’t get back to the car [in time] to be with him in his last few minutes,” Guidry said. “I wish I could have been in the car riding with them.”

Police searched the car for “bullet fragments, casings, magazines, and bullets” among other things, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Prince William Circuit Court on Monday.

A memorial set up by friends and relatives sits at the intersection. The sidewalk reads “RIP Bear,” in silver spray paint.

“We miss you,” it also said. A white cross with written messages is posted in the grass at the corner. There are a number of flower bouquets on the spot, and two balloons that say: “God Bless You,” and “You’re one in a million.”

Some messages on the back of the cross are made out to “#20” — Parker’s jersey number. “He was a well-mannered person,” Lawrence said. “He’ll be missed.”

Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.

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