Suspect in shooting death of young dad released

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Steve Ryan

Posted on January 31, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 1 at 3:38 PM

Map: Higley and Broadway roads

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MESA, Ariz. -- Maricopa County prosecutors are taking a close look at a deadly case involving a young father before deciding whether to file charges.

Dustinn Slaven, 18, was shot and killed Monday evening. He had been walking with a friend near Higley and Broadway roads shortly before 7 p.m. when someone threw a bottle at him from a car.

Police say Slaven and his friend got into their car and chased down the suspect. When they caught up to him, they got into an altercation that ended in gunfire. Slaven was shot twice. He was later pronounced dead at Maricopa Medical Center.

Mesa police took the teen suspect into custody and interviewed him, but after consulting with the county attorney, decided to release him.

Investigators say they’re determining whether he has a strong argument for self-defense.

The suspect turned himself in Tuesday morning.

Investigators believe the suspect and Slaven knew each other.

"The information that we have at this point is that they did know each other; they had some sort of history," explained Detective Steve Berry of the Mesa Police Department. "Obviously those are things we're still looking into."

Friends say it's possible that Slaven and the suspect had gone to school together at some point, but detectives have not confirmed that.

Police told 3TV's Javier Soto that the suspect in the case contacted them at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and offered, in the company of his lawyer, to turn himself in. Officers opted to go to that person's location; they detained him without incident. They then questioned him about exactly what happened Monday evening.

Police have not released the suspect's name.

Slaven was a new father. His baby girl was born about 6 months ago.

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