Bensalem police have charged a 16-year-old from the township with murder after he allegedly shot a teenage girl at his home, then asked an acquaintance to help him dispose of the body.
Joshua "Ash" Cooper, 16, is charged as an adult with homicide, possession of an instrument of a crime and tampering with evidence. He was arraigned late Friday night and sent to the Edison Juvenile Detention Center in Doylestown without bail.
The girl was 13 and was not related to Cooper, said William McVey, the director of public safety in Bensalem. He did not identify or release her name, but said she was not a Bensalem resident.
The victim, whose identity has not yet been confirmed, died as a result of a single gunshot wound to her neck and thorax area, according to the Bucks County Coroner's Office, which performed the autopsy.
On Saturday McVey said there was not a clear motive for the shooting. Police are continuing their investigation. The gun was found inside the mobile home, and police are investigating who owned the weapon and how Cooper had access to it.
A woman dialed 911 on Friday afternoon to report a possible homicide, saying that her daughter received an Instagram video chat from Cooper claiming he killed someone. The mother described Cooper as an acquaintance of her daughter.
During the chat, Cooper allegedly flipped the video image and showed the legs and feet of someone covered in blood, according to a probable cause affidavit. Cooper then asked the girl to help him get rid of the body.
According to court documents, Cooper told the girl that the shooting was an accident.
When officers went to Cooper's home at the Top of the Ridge Trailer Park in the 1400 block of Gibson Road they saw Cooper run out the back of his trailer. Cooper is a Bensalem School District student, attending the district's cyber charter school, McVey said.
When police entered the home they saw a teenage girl on the bathroom floor dead of an apparent gunshot, according to the affidavit. They also found indications that “substantial steps” were taken to clean up the crime scene, the affidavit said.
Cooper was taken into custody a short time later after he was spotted in the area of Newport Mews Drive and Groton Drive.
"It was an accident," he told police and he apologized, according to the probable cause affidavit, and said he is "going to jail for the rest of (his) life." Cooper later told police the gun was in the safe and "(his) dad is going to kill (him)."
Police spoke with Cooper and his mother and during an initial interview once he was in custody and the teen said he was cleaning out his father's safe and removed the firearms in it. He said he was sorting ammunition. He said he accessed the safe by "replacing the batteries his father had removed, which had made the combination lock inoperable," according to the affidavit.
Later in the day, the victim texted Cooper and was dropped off at his home when he was done reorganizing the safe and firearms. The two spent the afternoon together and watched a Netflix series, according to court documents. At some point, the victim left Cooper's room to go to he bathroom, he told authorities, but then the interview with police was terminated by Cooper and his mother.
Bensalem police did not identify the victim citing her as a juvenile, but said she was identified by her jewelry. They also did not identify Cooper, who was identified through court documents.
Authorities did find a gun safe and an empty holster in Cooper's trailer, according to court documents.
McVey thanked the girl who alerted her parents of the Instagram video for her actions, which he said helped the investigation and the quick apprehension of Cooper.
On Saturday morning, no one answered the door at the mobile home where Cooper lived, an older trailer with tan siding and brown shutters. An American flag flew outside and US Marine Corp. welcome mat sat on the porch. A sign that read, "Welcome to the home Marines" sat in a window.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates
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This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Bensalem teen killed teen in his home at Top of Ridge mobile home park