Philip Z. Cowles, 17, appears in Clallam County Superior Court on Monday accused of shooting and killing 19-year-old Tristen LeeShawn James Pisani. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Philip Z. Cowles, 17, appears in Clallam County Superior Court on Monday accused of shooting and killing 19-year-old Tristen LeeShawn James Pisani. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Bail set at $1 million for suspect in fatal Forks shooting

Charges to be filed against Phillip Z. Cowles on Wednesday

PORT ANGELES — A 17-year-old suspected of shooting and killing Tristen LeeShawn James Pisani, 19, after being called a “tweaker” during a small early-morning party Sunday has been ordered held in the Clallam County juvenile detention center on $1 million bail.

Phillip Z. Cowles, who according to court documents confessed to shooting Pisani, was covered with bruises as he appeared via television from the detention center Monday.

Charges will be filed at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin asked Judge Lauren Erickson to set bail at $1 million because of the risk Cowles presents to the community.

“There are allegations there was a party at the victim Mr. Pisani’s home,” Devlin said. “Mr. Cowles was there. He leaves, goes home, grabs a firearm and walks a mile and a half back to Mr. Pisani’s home with the firearm … and allegedly shot him dead.”

Erickson found probable cause that Cowles committed first-degree murder and agreed that Cowles “presents a substantial danger to the community,” rejecting Cowles’ attorney’s request that he be released without bail.

When Forks police officers arrived to the 1300 block of Big Burn Place shortly after 5:30 a.m. Sunday, two witnesses had “detained” Cowles and he was arrested without incident.

Pisani was dead.

Cowles told investigators he shot and killed Pisani because he felt bullied and didn’t like being called a “tweek.”

Witnesses told investigators that Cowles showed up to the party and was acting strange. When Pisani asked Cowles why he was “tweaking,” Cowles said not to call him a tweaker, according to court records.

“Phillip texted Tristen saying he did not like being called a ‘Tweaker’ and he was coming back with a gun,” court records say.

Cowles told investigators he took a knife, a revolver and .44 caliber ammunition from the closet in his mother’s bedroom before returning to the party.

Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said detectives are investigating whether the mother is criminally culpable under the new regulations voters approved under Initiative 1639.

On July 1 it became a felony to not securely store a firearm that is then used by someone ineligible to possess a firearm to injure or kill someone, according to the attorney general’s office.

“We’re proceeding in the direction that we need to know the circumstances surrounding the security and access to the weapon, but we would do that in any investigation,” King said. “That certainly is an element of our investigation at this point. It’s not necessarily the priority of our investigation, but certainly we have concerns about how there was such easy access to the weapon.”

Cowles said Pisani kept sending him antagonizing texts, even after he left, including a message that “pushed him too far.”

“I knew what I was going to do,” Cowles said during an interview with investigators, according to court records.

Witnesses said Cowles went back to house after the party had ended, aimed the gun at Pisani’s head and said “don’t call me a tweaker,” before firing the gun.

Cowles told investigators Pisani told him to “go ahead, do it.”

“I remember the rage overtook me,” Cowles said, according to court records. “As soon as I pulled that trigger. I didn’t even have to hear that sound. I knew what I did.”

That’s when witnesses detained Cowles. They struggled for the firearm and one person kept hitting Cowles until he stopped fighting back.

When police took Cowles into custody a holster fell from his waistband. In his pocket was a box of .44 caliber ammunition.

A revolver was found on a cooler in the house.

Later, in an interview with Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies, Cowles said he was offended that he was called a “tweek.” He had used cocaine for a short time, but had been clean for a month, he said, according to court records.

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].

More in Crime

Four weeks, two marijuana store robberies

Authorities exploring links

11 years meted out for domestic violence

Man has lengthy criminal history

A photo of murder victims Jordan Iverson, left, and his father, Darrell Iverson, was shown to the jury last week during Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michele Devlin’s closing argument.
Bauer murder verdict to be appealed

Case cost hundreds of thousands of dollars

Dennis Marvin Bauer is escorted out of Clallam County Superior Court after he was convicted of a 2018 triple murder on Monday. (Rob Ollikainen/for Peninsula Daily News)
Bauer found guilty of triple murder

Jury also finds him at fault for firearms violations

Paul Gottlieb/Peninsula Daily News

Dennis Bauer confers with lawyer Karen Unger.
Jury deliberating

Above, Michele Devlin, Clallam County chief criminal deputy prosecuting, top, moves mannequins… Continue reading

Paul Gottlieb/Peninsula Daily News
Karen Unger, attorney for accused triple-murderer Dennis Bauer, shows a photo to the jury Thursday during closing arguments that shows bullet casing found on the dryer of victim Darrell Iverson.
Jury deciding Bauer’s fate

Attorneys rest in triple-murder case

Judge Lauren Erickson addresses the jury during the final day of testimony Tuesday in Dennis Marvin Bauer's triple-murder trial. (Paul Gottlieb/Peninsula Daily News)
Jury set to decide accused killer’s fate

Closing arguments this morning

Dennis Bauer is questioned by defense attorney Karen Unger during his triple-murder trial in Clallam County Superior Court on Monday. (Rob Ollikainen/For Peninsula Daily News)
Bauer: ‘I don’t shoot people’

Accused takes stand in defense

Olympic National Park assault charge up in air

Man has been in treatment facility