Son shot dad in Chesco, police say

Posted: February 21, 2012

An unemployed 26-year-old Chester County man fatally shot his father Monday night after an argument, authorities said Tuesday.

The homicide, the county's third this year, occurred about 6:50 p.m. inside a residence in the 200 block of Seltzer Avenue in Caln Township, where Derek J. Smith had been quarreling with his father, Steve M. Washington, 51, said Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

"This was a family argument. At worst, it should have ended with bruised feelings," said Hogan. "Instead, a father is dead and a son has been arrested for murder."

Calling the case "open and shut," Hogan said Caln Township police and county detectives who responded to the scene found Washington dead of multiple gunshot wounds.

Officers found Smith outside the family residence in the front yard, the criminal complaint said.

Smith admitted shooting his father, describing "a history of not getting along" with each other, the complaint said. He told police he got a .38-caliber pistol from his bedroom, loaded it, and went to the living room, where he had an oral altercation with his father and fired at him, the complaint said.

After the shooting, Smith took the pistol and some ammunition outside and placed them into a cinder block in a fire pit on the property, the complaint said. Hogan said the murder weapon was recovered.

According to court records, Smith had no criminal history other than citations for truancy and using tobacco at school, in 2002 and 1998 respectively. He faces charges that include first-degree murder, recklessly endangering another person, and weapons offenses. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Hogan said Chester County had nine homicides in 2011.

Contact staff writer Kathleen Brady Shea at 610-696-3815,, or @brandywinebits on Twitter. Read her blog, "Chester County Inbox," at

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