Terric Davis’ life ended in Tacoma last night after only three years on this planet. A little after 11pm, his mother took him to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital because her child was having trouble breathing. An examination showed signs of blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen, clear signs of abuse. Twenty minutes later, Terric Davis’ died. His mother’s boyfriend has been arrested in connection with the murder. Terric’s 2-year-old sister was taken into protective custody by police.
This is the fifth Tacoma homicide this year and the second Tacoma homicide in which the mother’s boyfriend murdered a toddler. A little over a month ago two-year-old Chayson Colley-Jones was murdered.
I would love to write more about Terric’s life, to tell you of all of the friends he made, the things he accomplished, and the dreams he had. Unfortunately, these things will never be known and never happened and cannot be written about. These Tacoma stories have been stolen from all of us and we are all a little poorer because of it.
- Jack Cameron
Two-year-old Chayson Colley-Jones spent his last night in a downtown apartment building on Saturday, March 30th. His mother was going out to celebrate her birthday. Chayson was being watched by his mother’s 19-year-old boyfriend who had moved in five weeks earlier. At 4am Sunday morning someone called the police because they saw the boyfriend with a badly injured Chayson in the lobby of the apartment building.
The police arrived and found Chayson not breathing. His mother’s boyfriend told them that the child had fallen. Chayson was taken to the hospital where he died hours later. His injuries were extensive and extreme. The two-year-old’s blood alcohol level at the time of his death was .12. There was also evidence that he’d been raped. The boyfriend has been arrested and charged for his crimes.
It’s difficult to imagine a worse crime than the death of Chayson Colley-Jones. There is no rational understanding of horrific final hours of Chayson. Murders such as this are often shown as an example of why we must continue to have the death penalty. Here in Washington we still have the death penalty and that did not deter Chayson’s murderer which may be just as powerful an argument against such a practice.
Chayson’s murder is tragic. He was someone who never got to show Tacoma what he could have been. He has been lost to us and the city is a little worse off for it. The only consolation is that the person responsible has been apprehended and that events such as this are rare.
Typically I ask that comments be left strictly for those who have memories to share of Chayson. Sadly, I fear his life was far too short for any comments at all. If friends or family of Chayson are reading this, please share your favorite memories with us. My thoughts are with you.
Rest in peace, Chayson. You are not forgotten.
- Jack Cameron
A little after midnight on Friday March 29th police received phone calls reporting gun shots near South 72nd and Pacific. At the nearby Morgan motel they found 42-year-old Donald Phily dead from gunshot wounds.
At the time of this writing there is still very little information being released to the public. There are probably a couple of reasons for this. One is that in the first few hours of a homicide investigation the police like to keep information quiet because it helps find the person responsible. (If someone has information that the news never reported then they know that person might be valuable to the investigation.)
The other reason that there is very little news coverage of this homicide is that the Morgan is known for frequent criminal activity and while crime in Tacoma is nowhere near the levels that it used to be, someone getting killed on the South Side of Tacoma in a cheap motel room isn’t what some news outlets would call ‘newsworthy’.
I do my best to report every homicide that happens in Tacoma because every death affects friends and family of the victim. They’re all important deaths. If I had the time and the resources, I’d cover more than just homicides.
My heart goes out to the friends and family of Donald Phily and I hope his killer is brought to justice. As always, the comments section is reserved for the victim’s friends and family to share their memories of Donald. These victims of homicides may be gone, but we can preserve the memories of them for others because each of them is a Tacoma Story.
- Jack Cameron
Sara Barrett was putting her life back together. She had three children, all boys. Her youngest just turned twenty-one. She had recently become a grandmother. She was also estranged from her husband of over twenty years. On Wednesday morning she posted on Facebook, ‘Good Morning and Happy Hump day everyone. Today is a good day and will be an even better night )))’ Before the next morning, 42-year-old Sara Barrett would be found dead in a motel room at the Motel 6 off of South 72nd Street and her estranged husband would be arrested after making a phone call to a local TV station where he confessed to her murder and then leading the police on a chase that ended across the Narrows Bridge.
Sara is the second Tacoma homicide of 2013. Her marriage had been on and off for last few years. In 2007 her husband tried to smother her with a pillow. There were two restraining orders filed during that time but they were denied when Sara didn’t show up for court.
In many ways the death of Sara Barrett is a textbook case of domestic violence. These situations are difficult. It’s easy for some to say she simply needed to get away from her abuser, but he wasn’t just that to her. He was her husband of over twenty years. He was the father of her children. It’s not easy to see that person as a deadly danger. Sara seems to be someone who always saw the best in people. It’s likely one of the things that made people love her. She will be missed.
As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Sara and want to share memories of her. The purpose of writing these articles is so that the people who are taken from us in this city are remembered.
Here’s hoping we can go a long time before I write another one.
- Jack Cameron
It’s been brutally cold lately in Tacoma. The other night I walked from my house to my friend’s without a coat. His place is just four houses away. I was so cold when I got there that I stayed for an hour just to warm up. A little over two miles away on Saturday morning, 23-year-old Tyliah Young was found in an alleyway near S. 12th and Ainsworth. Her body was frozen. There was frozen blood present causing police to believe it was not the elements that killed her. Today the medical examiner released her cause of death as multiple gunshots to the head.
Tyliah was from New York and had talked of going back there where she had family. Friends and family say she was a happy person. She had two young daughters.
Some people will say that a homicide on Tacoma’s Hilltop is nothing new. They will say that it’s an area famous for violent crime. And they’re right about that much. However, Hilltop’s reputation is far worse than the reality. In the years since the gang and crime filled days of the early 1990s, Hilltop has emerged as a better neighborhood full of new businesses and an active community. As a life-long citizen of Tacoma, there was a time when I wouldn’t even drive in Hilltop at night. Now, I feel safe walking those same streets.
Tacoma’s first homicide of 2013 is tragic and here’s hoping it’s one of the few this year. As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family if they want to share thoughts or stories about Tyliah for others to read. I’m sorry for your loss.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for Tyliah’s murder. http://www.tpcrimestoppers.com/case.php?id=555
- Jack Cameron
Monday night two Lakewood officers were patrolling Gravelly Lake Drive near I-5 in a patrol car when they spotted a stolen vehicle. The vehicle got onto I-5 heading North. The police officers chased the vehicle until it got off on the East Portland Avenue exit. Shortly after that, the police were able to do a maneuver to stop the stolen vehicle. At this time, according to police reports, the man in the car opened fire on them. The officers returned fire hitting 35-year-old Michael Crawford. Last night Michael died from his injuries. No police officers were hurt.
This marks the twelfth Tacoma homicide of 2012 and the second police involved homicide. We’ll likely never know all of the details that led to Michael choosing to open fire on police officers. Especially given recent local history, he had to know that doing so was a no-win situation. My heart goes out to both Michael’s family and the officers involved in the shooting. One of the reasons I include police involved shootings in the homicides I write about is that too often the media defines someone by their final act. Michael Crawford was certainly more than a car thief. As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Michael and want to share their memories with us.
- Jack Cameron
Last Tuesday 40-year-old Patrick Nicholas was at a storage facility on Sprague with his wife and another couple. The two men got into an argument. According to charging documents Patrick reached in his pocket. The other man shot him once but thought he had missed and shot him a second time. When police arrived, Patrick was found with a gun in his pocket.
The man who shot Patrick has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. This is the eleventh homicide of 2012 in the city of Tacoma. Typically the city averages about one homicide a month. More often than not, they seem to be situations in which an argument erupts into something much more violent.
As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Patrick. Here’s hoping his death is the last for the year.
- Jack Cameron
In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 25th, Robert Meline’s 29-year-old son drank a cup of coffee. Two years earlier he’d been released from Western State Mental hospital for treatment of paranoid schizophrenia. He was deemed ‘no longer an imminent threat to himself or those around him.’ Earlier in the week he’d bought a hatchet and told Robert Meline that he was going to kill him.
At just after two in the morning Robert Meline was attacked and killed by his son wielding a hatchet. He was 56 years old. Robert’s screams woke his daughter who found her brother on the stairs carrying a bloody hatchet. She then took her brother down the Pierce County Jail to turn himself in.
Robert was a sixth grade teacher in Bethel School District. By all accounts he was well liked and an all around positive person. He had been with the school district for over twenty years.
It would be easy to cast blame on Western State and the status of our mental health facilities but unfortunately it’s not a simple problem that can be fixed easily and not every dangerous individual appears to be such before something violent happens.
As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew and remember Robert Meline and want to share with us what he was like.
- Jack Cameron
Tuesday Justin Bieber played the Tacoma Dome. I didn’t attend. Wednesday Justin Bieber got on Twitter and told his 28 million fans that someone at the concert has stolen his and his manager’s stuff. He called the event ‘lame’ and ‘disrespectful’. However, it turns out that Bieber never filed a police report with Tacoma Police. And security footage from the Tacoma Dome shows that no theft actually took place. And now it turns out that the entire thing was a publicity stunt for his new music video.
In the past, Tacoma was known for its crime and rightly so. The early 90s had an influx of gang members from California that turned certain parts of this city into a small war zone. However, in the 20 years since then, Tacoma has improved and changed. Like any other city, we still have our share of crime, but to make an accusation that thieves stole his stuff during a concert, Justin Bieber inflames a stereotype and he did it for his own publicity.
There’s more to it than that though. By saying there was a theft in the Tacoma Dome, Bieber effectively calls into question the security of the Tacoma Dome. This can make it so other, more talented acts don’t come to Tacoma. Sure, it’s out now that it’s a lie, but I think it’s safe to say that not everyone who heard of the theft is going to hear that it wasn’t real. The Tacoma Dome should sue Justin Bieber and they should never invite him back. In fact, the City of Tacoma should declare this city a Bieber-free zone.
Justin Bieber, take your cheap lies and your bad music and don’t ever come back. You’re not welcome in the City of Destiny.
- Jack Cameron
A friend of mine has a daughter who went missing last week. If you have any information about her whereabouts, please contact the Tacoma Police Department at 253-798-4722
UPDATE: Phaedra has been found and returned to her father. Thanks to everyone who shared this post and helped get her home.