Monthly Archives: September 2006

The Tacoma Homicides of 2006 (so far)

I was thinking that with Tacoma’s homicide rate reaching 20 for the year, it’d be a good time to do a recap on the homicides this year. However, crime reporter Stacey Mulick over at Tacoma’s News Tribune beat me to it. Thankfully, she’s allowed me to repost it here.

Stacey maintains a great Tacoma crime blog at the News Tribune along with reporter Adam Lynn. You can find it at:

Here’s a brief look at the 20 homicides recorded so far this year in Tacoma. (See Stacey’s fine article about Tacoma’s homicides in today’s paper by clicking here.)

Jan. 5: Donald George-Oya, 18, was fatally shot while riding a bicycle along East 40th Street near East I Street. No arrests have been made, though suspects have been identified.

Feb. 8: Daniel Jacob Varo, 22; Darren S. Christian, 28; and Lindy A. Cochran, 21, were found fatally shot in Christian’s rental house in the 600 block of South Union Avenue. Prosecutors have charged three men and two women in connection with the homicides.

Feb. 19: Edward Ernest Drayton, 48, died of complications of a gunshot wound he sustained in 1988. A man was prosecuted at the time of the shooting for the assault.

Feb. 22: Beau Dee Pearson, 40, was fatally shot while meeting acquaintances in a travel trailer behind a house in the 4500 block of South L Street. Prosecutors have charged a man in the case.

Feb. 22: Haydon Kostelecky, 2, died. Doctors found bruises on his brain and recent spleen and liver lacerations. Prosecutors have charged Haydon’s stepfather in the death.

Feb. 26: Pepper L. Jones, 27, was found in the bath tub of her home in the 5600 block of South Thompson Avenue. Prosecutors have charged her husband in the death.

March 25: Marvin L. Arnold Jr., 45, was fatally shot by two Tacoma police officers after Arnold came at them with a knife in the 3700 block of 49th Avenue Northeast.

April 3: Desaundra Dixon, 35, was fatally shot in the chest about 2 a.m. in her home in the 5600 block of South Junett Street. Prosecutors have charged her longtime boyfriend with second-degree murder.

April 6: Robert Luea, 21, was fatally shot when he got in between an argument between his mother and stepfather in their home in the 4100 block of South J Street. Prosecutors charged his stepfather with second-degree murder.

April 20: Dien Kien Huynh, 55, was fatally beaten in the front lawn of his home in the 3800 block of South 16th Street shortly after he got home from work. Prosecutors have charged three Mount Tahoma High students with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in the homicide.

May 10: Robert J. Barrow, 49, was found fatally shot inside his house in the 1200 block of South 72nd Street. Prosecutors have charged a woman with first-degree murder. According to court documents, she was working as a prostitute and went over to Barrow’s house for a date.

May 31: Morris Perry, 46, was fatally stabbed in his home in the 500 block of South 68th Street Prosecutors charged a transient who knew Perry with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Perry?s death.

July 4: Jason Outler, a 31-year-old single father, was fatally shot during an argument in the 3100 block of North Eighth Street. Prosecutors have charged another man in his death, alleging the two argued over money.

July 8: Rhaczio "Rha Rha" Demetri Simms, 18, was fatally near a downtown Tacoma nightclub in the 800 block of Pacific Avenue. Prosecutors have charged a teen with first-degree murder and first-degree assault in the suspected gang shooting.

August 7: Jeffery Norris-Romine, 21, was fatally shot in the 9000 block of South Alaska Street. Prosecutors have decided not to charge the gunman because of evidence he acted in self-defense.

Aug. 27: Velma Angeline Tirado-Salway, 45, was fatally shot in an alley on Court D Street South near the 1900 block of South Fawcett Avenue. No arrests have been made.

Sept. 3: Olga Carter, 39, was fatally shot during a domestic dispute in her home in the 4500 block of South Sheridan Avenue. Prosecutors have charged her boyfriend with first-degree murder.Sept. 8: Julius Williams, 24, was found fatally shot on the sidewalk outside Bryant Montessori School, 717 S. Grant Ave. No arrests have been made.

Tacoma's 20th Homicide of 2006

Friday morning, near the bus stop at Bryant Montessori School at 717 South Grant in the Hilltop neighborhood, 24-year-old Julius Williams breathed his last breath and became Tacoma’s 20th homicide of 2006. Children arriving for school were quickly escorted away from the scene and a yellow tarp was put over his body.

Julius died of multiple gunshot wounds though there were no reports that morning of gunshots. The previous night there were reports of gunshots on nearby South 8th and Ainsworth, but responding officers only found a man with a crack pipe. It’s unknown if the gunshots are related to the homicide. Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood has often been a place of drugs and violence though less so now than in the 90’s. Gun shots are not uncommon and not always reported. Many don’t report gunshots simply because they don’t want to call the police on an almost nightly basis.

Little is known about Julius Williams’ final days. He was a soldier from Fort Lewis, but has been absent without leave for weeks. He had a wife though he hadn’t been staying at his house. With very little to go one and very little known about his life in the weeks leading up to this, it’s unlikely detectives will have an easy time solving this one.

Hilltop has had a sketchy history. In the 90’s it was a haven for gangs, drugs, and violence. Gangsters came up from California and brought their violence with them. An anti-gang task force was set up and by late 90’s gang crime was down and Hilltop was making a comeback as a good neighborhood. Then a few years ago the task force was shut down and gang and drug crime began to increase. Still the crime in Hilltop now is nothing compared to the days of the early 90’s when I’d go to sleep to the sound of gunshots and sirens.

Like many police forces, Tacoma’s tends to be a bit reactionary rather than proactive. It’s not entirely the fault of the department. It’s hard to get money for something that’s not a problem. So if gang crime is down and the budget is tight, it’s easy to think that a gang task force isn’t necessary.

I don’t know if Julius Williams’ death was gang or drug related though the locale makes it a distinct possibility. What is clear is that Tacoma’s homicide rate has jumped from 13 last year to 20 this year and promises to go higher before the year is out and this is not an issue simply for the police department but for the community as a whole.


Disputes, Domestic and Otherwise….

A few entries ago I told you about the death of 21-year-old Jeffery Mario Norris-Romine. Since then Tacoma Police arrested an 18-year-old named Moises Angel Larreinaga. After further investigation of the case, today Pierce County Prosecutors announced that they would not be pressing charges in this case. It appears that what happened is both men got out of their cars armed and what occurred was self-defense. Whether or not this is actually the case is hard to say, but really there isn’t much to refute this account and if this case had gone to trial, it’s fairly safe to say there’d be enough reasonable doubt for an acquittal.

Also today Pierce County prosecutors have filed first-degree murder charges against 45-year-old Donnell Wayne Price. Around 5:00am Sunday morning Donnell’s girlfriend 39-year-old Olga Carter called the 911 because she was having an argument with Donnell. Officers responded to the scene and found the door ajar. They announced themselves and Donnell came to the door and shut and locked it. Then the officers heard screaming and kicked in the door. Then there was a single gunshot. Officers backed off and surrounded the house. Three hours later, Donnell surrendered. Upon entering the house, officers found Olga Carter dead.

Domestic disputes are probably among cop’s least favorite calls. Washington State law says that they have to arrest somebody in any domestic dispute. Despite this, they don’t always do so. Sometimes it’s as simple as telling the couple to keep it down. Other times it ends up like the situation with Donnell and Olga. You never know. A cop friend of mine said the job of a cop is simple: “Long hours of complete boredom punctuated by sudden moments of brief complete terror.” What it comes down to is that no matter who your significant other is, they aren’t worth going to jail over. And you can go to jail simply because the cops showed up. And cops are fairly sexist when it comes to these things. I had a friend whose girlfriend came over to his place, started a fight, and when the cops showed up, they arrested him and left the girl in his apartment.

Most fights simply aren’t worth the potential consequences whether it’s a road rage dispute or an argument with your wife. Ultimately most of the time it’s best to just walk away.