Seventh Tacoma Homicide of 2015: Jason Galaviz


Wednesday afternoon 40-year-old Jason Galaviz knocked a woman down at a bus stop and stole her cellphone near S. 56th and Washington Street. He then ran towards his truck. In his truck was a dog and a woman. As he got to the truck, he turned on the two people following him and pulled out a handgun. An off duty police officer happened by the scene and identified himself. The woman got out of the truck. The police officer asked Jason to drop his gun. When he refused, the police officer shot him once. Jason got into his truck, driving it into a sign a short distance away. He was taken to an area hospital where he died shortly after arriving. The woman was questioned and released. The dog was taken by animal control.

The death of Jason Galaviz is the seventh Tacoma homicide this year and the second Tacoma Police involved homicide of this year.

When it comes to situations like this, it’s easy to write off the person who was shot as just another criminal. A person’s background can often add context to events, but even the most hardened criminal is more than the sum of their crimes.

Jason Galaviz had five children who lost a father. He had friends and relatives who care for him. He was despite anything else, a fellow human being. We can condemn his actions. We can even understand the actions of the police officer. But none of this relieves Jason of his basic humanity.

The death of a person is always a tragedy. Jason’s death will never be forgotten by his friends and family. The 23-year veteran of the Tacoma Police Department who shot him will never forget what he felt he had to do. Homicides are never forgotten by those directly connected to the victim.

As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim to share happier memories of him. All comments are moderated.

Jack Cameron

A Special 5 Question Friday With Tacoma City Council Primary Candidates


A couple of weeks ago I had the idea of inviting the ten people running for two seats on Tacoma’s City Council in next Tuesday’s Primary to answer the same five questions for Five Question Friday. Given the nearness of the election, I emailed them all at once. The three candidates (Anders Ibsen, John Hines, and Tara Doyle-Enneking) running for Tacoma City Council Position 1 all got back to me fairly quickly. Of the seven candidates running for Position 3, only four of them (Keith Blocker, Kris Blondin, Valentine Smith, and Justine Leighton) chose to participate.

Tom McCarthy said it was “Pretty late in the process to impact the Primary.”

Whitney Brady said he was “Pretty busy with the Primary approaching.”

Robert Hill did not respond at all.

Below you’ll find a question followed by the answer from each of the candidates who responded. Answers will be listed in the order I received them.

Here are your candidates for Tacoma City Council in Tuesday’s Primary:

1. What can you tell us about your background?

Anders Ibsen, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

I’m a lifelong Tacoman who loves his home neighborhood and wants to make it even better. I’m a product of our schools, got my first job here, got married and bought our first home here, and it’s where we’re going to raise our family. I’ve had the privilege of representing you for the past four years on the City Council, fighting to preserve and enhance our quality of life, giving you accessible representation at City Hall, and advancing our community’s progressive values.

I work as a real estate appraiser when I’m not politicking. My beautiful wife Beverly is a family law attorney, JAG Officer in the WA Army National Guard, and an all-around superstar. We attend St. Leo’s, work in our neighborhood community garden, and are the proud parents of two rescue kitties.

Tara Doyle Enneking, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

I live in Salmon Beach, I helped raise 4 Step-Daughters, my husband Mike and I have owned a small business in Tacoma for 14 years. We play Co-ed soccer together (he played for the Tacoma Stars back in the day), Dirt-bike together, golf and we love living in Salmon Beach where we can crab, paddle board and enjoy our unique community. We are blessed to have one of our newest grand-daughters (and family) moving in just a few cabins down.  I am a U.W. Graduate and have my Master’s from P.L.U. in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have had the opportunity to be a speaker and participant in over 150 Charities and have an extensive background working with kids and teens. I bring a wide array of experience from community and social service, working with families, couples and kids to having a strong background in Finance, Sales and Management along with all of important aspects of running a small business.

John Hines, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

I am a lifelong Tacoma resident that has lived in the South, West and North Ends of the city. My dad was a truck driver and my mother was a pawn broker. I was very lucky to end up with scholarships to attend the University of Puget Sound and become one of the few in my family to graduate from college. Now I am a high school government teacher and football coach and have dedicated my life to service to others. I have been involved in many organizations including the College Success Foundation, the Washington State Council for the Social Studies, and the University of Puget Sound Alumni Council.

Keith Blocker, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

Raised by a single mother in Philadelphia, PA., I experienced extreme poverty at a very young age. Through this experience, I learned the importance of education, collaboration and how to overcome adverse conditions. I have been a resident of Tacoma for almost 10 years. While living in Tacoma, I was diagnosed with macular degeneration and informed that I was legally blind, with no possibility of correction. In a matter of months, I was able to connect with the Washington State Services for the Blind, which guided my self-determination in earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies at The University of Puget Sound.

I am currently the Director of Middle School Programs for the non-profit Peace Community Center, providing academic coaching, life skills training and early college preparation to students at Jason Lee Middle School. I also sit on the board of the FISH Food Bank, whose mission is ‘to provide nutritious food to people in need with compassion, dignity and respect’.

Kris Blondin, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I was born and raised in Tacoma-Pierce County and graduated from the University of Washington, Tacoma in 2000 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. I have worked in non-profit development, marketing and advertising, and have owned and operated two businesses in Tacoma since 2003. I purchased my home in Central Tacoma in 2001 (14 years) and look forward to many more years of living in this diverse and ever changing district.

Valentine Smith, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I was born in the Bronx and grew up in Yonkers and then Connecticut. I joined the US Army in 1999 as a way to be able to attend college. While I was in, I spent a year in South Korea and deployed to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. I have two older sons who live in Des Moines, WA and my wife and I had a daughter ( Ellen Ripley Smith) four months ago at St. Joe’s.

Justin Leighton, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I am 33 years old, live in the Hilltop and was born and raised just outside of Puyallup near Parkland.  I graduated from Franklin Pierce High School in 2001 before attending Washington State University where I attained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a teaching certification in 2006.  I taught high school in Fife for several years until I was laid off in 2009 due to the Great Recession.  For two years I worked on and off unemployment during the Great Recession with odd jobs such as the State Legislature for one session and several campaigns.  Today, I am the Government Relations Officer for Pierce Transit where I manage the Agency’s federal, state, regional and local policy and lobbying efforts.  I am the former Chair of the Central Neighborhood Council; Co-Chair of the Hilltop Subarea Planning effort and currently Co-Chair the City’s Transportation Commission as well as serve on the YWCA Pierce County’s newly formed Associate Board.   I also just received a Master of Public Administration from Evergreen this past June.  My partner of 7 years lives in LA as he works for Walt Disney Animation Studios (think Frozen).   I have a fat Cat named Tucker James Leighton that I have had since I was in college.

2. What do you think are the three most important issues facing Tacoma right now?

Anders Ibsen, Tacoma City Council Position

Addressing the deferred maintenance of our infrastructure

Increasing Tacoma’s area median income

Making city government more transparent, democratic and accountable

Tara Doyle Enneking, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

Wage equality is important​ and certainly a hot topic for Tacoma right now yet we need to be mindful to keep the minimum wage competitive so that we can do better to attract business to Tacoma.

​Ensuring the financial stability of city government by bringing more business expertise to the council​ ​is important.​

​Addressing our roads and transportation infrastructure is something I hear on a daily basis and fortunately Proposition 3 should provide voters a viable option to address these concerns.

* It is important to note that this question ​addressed Tacoma as a whole and so I responded in a broader way, however, I would add to that District 1 has some very community specific issues such as the Proctor Station development, The Weyerhauser Mansion use and the Mason Gulch. These are equally important district concerns and will be a priority for me to respond with action to if elected.

John Hines, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

The most important issues are affordability, accessibility, and sustainability.

Affordability is necessary to ensure that we examining the holistic costs of living in Tacoma for all of our residents and not ensuring that we are distributing the burden and costs of the living and working in the city fairly.

Accessibility has two critical parts. One is physical accessibility and it is needed to make sure we have a city that allows citizens to move easily about the city through investing in our infrastructure and our public transportation. The other is access to institutions so that all residents feel confident that they can pull on the levers of power.

Sustainability is working to establish development practices that can be sustained over decades and making sure that we continue to look at Tacoma as a long term project, involving all of the citizens, to build toward a lasting goal.

Keith Blocker, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

Creating Jobs:
We have watched too many businesses leave Tacoma. We simply need to do more to recruit and retain businesses that can provide family wage jobs with good benefits. As a council member, I will bring business, government and labor leaders together to strengthen Tacoma’s ability to bring innovative companies to our city.

Ensuring Public Safety:
We have the same number of police officers that we had in the 1980s. We can do better. It’s time to reprioritize our police to ensure our neighborhoods are safe. I will work to see more on-street patrols in our neighborhoods to keep the relationship between our neighborhoods and our police as strong as possible.

Fixing Our Roads And Bridges:
The City of Tacoma is not keeping up on basic repair on roads and bridges. We need to look at a dedicated source of funding to ensure our streets, curbs and sidewalks are repaired quickly.

Kris Blondin, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

The top three issues of my campaign are encouraging entrepreneurship and growing our local economy, investing in our infrastructure needs, and working to build a high school devoted to technical skills and trades.  Our city does not do enough to encourage new businesses, much less support current businesses.

The business community needs a voice on the city council and I hope to bring people together to successfully support and encourage real economic development for the benefit of our entire community.  One critical way of providing that support to our economy is by first crafting a solution to repairing our streets and by bringing key constituency groups to the table to develop a workable solution for long-term transportation issues.

Having a School of the Trades in Tacoma would provide high school students with marketable skills in manufacturing and other crafts.  We need to grow our economy now and into the future.

Valentine Smith, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

For me the three most important issues are jobs and the economy, public safety, and helping the homeless.

Justin Leighton, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

Affordable Housing, Public Transportation and the cost of living is too dang high.

Nearly 8,000 people are on the waiting list at Tacoma Housing Authority for housing vouchers and nearly 1,000 individuals are homeless; Tacoma can and must do better.  When a single mother can get to work at night on the bus but cant get home when she is done with her shift because the buses do not run late enough; Tacoma can and must do better.  When people have to work two or three part time jobs just to ensure their family has a roof over their head and some food on their table; Tacoma can and must do better.

This is why I am running, because when I grew up, we didn’t have a lot of income and I learned at an early age that strong communities and strong families matter so Tacoma can and will do better.

3. What differentiates you from your opponents?

Anders Ibsen, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

Besides having the experience of being your representative, one key difference between me and my opponents is that I’m running with the support of a broad balance of residents, organizations, and businesses. I’m my own person, and I strive to represent the people who live in my district rather than narrow political special interests.

Tara Doyle Enneking, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

I am a female :)  ​I bring a solid business background that provides me the knowledge of what it takes to balance a budget and retain excellent community relations. I value the importance of bringing the right people together to achieve consensus and to move policy forward. I am passionate, energetic and determined to make Tacoma the Powerhouse it has the potential to be.

John Hines, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

What makes me unique from my opponents is that I bring the unique perspective of being an educator and a coach. Being an educator has given me insight into the struggles of many of the families in the community. I have seen how small barriers can stop even the most dedicated, and I want to try and remove barriers to success where I can. I hope to work on the council to support our families and ensure that there continue to be opportunities available to them to improve their lives and their communities. As a coach, I have learned the importance of teamwork, collaboration, creating a plan and executing it. This often means putting aside personal differences or agendas and working together for the ultimate goal. As a coach, I have learned that individuals do not win or lose, the team does and the same is true for the city council. If the council cannot move forward, the members do not lose, the city does.

Keith Blocker, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I spent the first 25 years of my life in the city of Philadelphia. I am the only candidate that has experienced extreme poverty while living in a major metropolitan city. I am the only candidate that has experienced homelessness as child, as a teenager and as a young adult. I am the only candidate that is a first generation college graduate. I know what it is like to overcome adversity while maintaining a positive outlook on life. I know how to manage and move through tough situations and how to help others do the same. If you look at my base of supporters you will find people, who come from all walks of life, from those who are still struggling day to day as well as those, who are wealthy. I simply have the most diverse base of supporters. People from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds believe in me and my vision for Tacoma. I am a strong collaborator, a person who unifies people,  who is compassionate generous and determined. I am a leader.

Kris Blondin, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I am a small business owner that has invested everything I have in two Tacoma businesses. I understand what it takes to be results oriented.  It is not about effort, it is about accomplishing.  My focus has always been to know the needs and wants of my customers, which is not any different from understanding the wants and needs of our Tacoma citizens.

As a small business owner, I have learned to effectively get work done through others.  We know we cannot possibly do everything ourselves so we work through others. Working cohesively with other council members and local officials is key to accomplishing our City’s goals.

I also understand that earning the trust of my customers as well as those who provide goods to me is an ongoing and life long process.  One thing about trust – it can evaporate quickly if it is not constantly reinforced. I have learned to be a good listener.  I listen to my customers so I can provide the best goods and services that are readily available.

These are all qualities that I have honed over many years and qualities that are extremely valuable to be an effective and productive councilperson.

Valentine Smith, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

Other than being the only one with military and real leadership experience I’m also the most pragmatic numbers and data based candidate. Regardless of how I personally feel about something I always try to use the actual facts to make decisions.

Justin Leighton, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I have the most experience working in the community and our neighborhoods. In additional, because of my professional career I am the only candidate that has understanding of how Tacoma fits into the broader Puget Sound region.  As The News Tribune said in their endorsement: “(Justin) has been active in public life, knows city issues and enjoys strong support from leading Democrats in the area” which helps make me the only candidate that is day-one ready.

4. What’s the most misunderstood thing about you?

Anders Ibsen, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

I actually have a really decent singing voice, and used to be in a ton of heavy metal bands back in high school.

Tara Doyle Enneking, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

A​ bipartisan candidate not tied to either party. My ears are open to my constituents as a whole, so that my actions can stay a true and pure course that considers the greater good for Tacoma.

John Hines, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

I used to be an offensive lineman in college and I have lost 80 pounds since then. Now I am a serious runner and I have completed 12 marathons (including the Boston Marathon in 2011). Most people think that I was always a runner and when I tell them that I used to play college football, they do not believe me.

Keith Blocker, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I think some people don’t understand how challenging it is to have a disability. Being legally blind creates many challenges for me. I rely on rides from friends or family or public transportation to get around. With that said, I still manage to do what I have to do to accomplish my goals. My visual disability forces me to collaborate with others, it forces me to rely on my family and friends, it forces me to be a team player. For some finding common ground, being flexible and coming to consensus is a weakness. For me it is always a strength and an asset that leads to success.

Kris Blondin, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I don’t support the current push for a $15 an hour minimum wage, so many people believe I don’t support a livable wage which is absolutely not true. While I believe in a family living wage, I think that any increase to the minimum wage needs to come from the state to ensure there is no competitive disadvantage for businesses.  I truly believe the current 15NOW initiative would put the businesses in the City of Tacoma at an unfair economic disadvantage among other local cities.  I also believe it could unfairly impact seniors and others who are living on a fixed income, which would not be raised even if local prices increase as a result of this measure.

Valentine Smith, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

Maybe not misunderstood, but certainly something I haven’t really brought up or made an big deal out of is where I came from. When I was born my mother was very, very young and in a girl’s home in the Bronx. I lived in the Bronx in the late seventies through the eighties, I know what real poverty is. I know what it’s like to go without, to grow up in a neighborhood full of drugs, crime, and gangs. My way out was to join the Army and make something more of myself. Most people look at me and see a white guy doing okay for himself with no idea what it took for me to get here or how hard it was.

Justin Leighton, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

Because I have been so active in my neighborhood some people think I am just an activist; I am that and more.  I love public policy and can really go into the details of city government. We need someone that is active, gets the broader context of our community and then can deliver detailed policies to address the fundamental and systematic issues we face today.

5. What super-power would you want and why?

Anders Ibsen, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

The power to open automated doors a few moments sooner than they would typically open. Because why not?

Tara Doyle Enneking, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

TO FREEZE TIME! It has been very challenging for me to do all that I believe is important for this campaign while running a business. The way I like to tackle objectives so wholeheartedly with boundless energy, dedication and with great tenacity I find there is just not enough time to get to every single house to door knock, to answer every questionnaire that I am presented and although I know I am giving it my all and attending to everything I can, the days sure end up a few hours short of time every day.

John Hines, Tacoma City Council Position 1:

I would like to be able to fly. It would be nice to never need to sit in traffic or drive a car again. It would also be nice to be able to see the world from a new perspective

Keith Blocker, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I would like to be able to teleport. Having the ability to travel and be places in an instant seems to be a great superpower to have.

Kris Blondin, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

I would like the ability to travel back in time in order to learn and experience what it was like for those who came before us. There is such value in history and I think we take for granted with all the technology and advancements in our daily lives. While we have books and historical documents to detail our past, there is nothing like actual experience to help craft a rewarding destiny.

Valentine Smith, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

To be able to fly. All the places you could go and all the things you could see, what could be cooler than that. I remember when I was a kid most of us never left the neighborhood (some of us still haven’t) but talked about all the places we’d go to some day, I always wished I could fly.

Justin Leighton, Tacoma City Council Position 3:

The power to absorb other super powers – thus I can be any super power necessary to solve the problem in front of me.

I’d like to thank Anders Ibsen, Tara Doyle Enneking, John Hines, Keith Blocker, Kris Blondin, Valentine Smith, and Justin Leighton for joining me for this special 5 Question Friday.

If you haven’t turned in your ballot yet, hopefully this will assist you in your choices.

– Jack Cameron

The Mystery Stones of Pt. Defiance Park

Last weekend my girlfriend and I decided to go to Pt. Defiance Park and walk some of the trails. It’d been months since I took the time to do so. As we walked through the forest, I noticed a rock sitting on a log. It was obvious that it had not arrived at that spot naturally. Looking at the rock I noticed it had a little design on it. I thought that it was cool so I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

Then about fifty yards further down the trail I noticed another rock in a strange place with a different symbol on it. Once I figured out that it wasn’t just a one-off but some sort of mysterious public art project, I found another spot for the rock in my pocket and took a photo of each of them. As the walk continued we kept our eyes out for more rocks and found about eight of them, each with different symbols in what appears to be white ink stamp. Each time I took a (blurry) photo with my cell phone.


Once I got home, I started looking online to see if I could find any information about these rocks, but a quick search didn’t find anything. I posted some photos of the rocks online on the TacomaStories Twitter and Facebook page. And then I decided to go back again the next day.

The following day I found additional rocks on the same trail. I also found that some rocks from the day before were gone. Others had been moved. I took photos of every rock I found and decided to come back yet again.


Today I went on the same trails as before but also some new ones. Some trails I found no rocks at all. Others I found quite a few. It would appear that they are not each unique designs. I found some identical designs on different rocks.

Who is putting these rocks out there? Is there a meaning behind them or is it just art? Just how widespread are these stones? These are all questions to which I’d love to find answers. Unfortunately it’s almost impossible to determine whether or not the person or people who placed the stones are the same ones moving or removing the stones. The first stone I found was moved by me. Others likely disappear when people find them and pocket them. Are the new ones I find on the same trail new or just stones that were moved or I hadn’t noticed the day before?


Someone or a group of someones has made exploring Pt. Defiance Park even more fun and I’d like to thank them for it.  For more photos of the Pt. Defiance mystery stones, check out the Tacoma Stories Facebook Page. If you know anything about these stones, contact me at I’d love to talk with you and perhaps do a 5 Question Friday.

Enjoy the photos and if you’re in town, take the time to find some on your own. I highly advise that if you start hunting for these stones you employ the old adage, “Take only photos, leave only footprints.”  In other words please leave the Pt. Defiance Mystery Stones alone for others to discover.

– Jack Cameron

Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2015: Sayvon Jordan Jr.


Early Saturday morning 15-month-old Sayvon Jordan Jr. was brought into Tacoma General Hospital by a his mother and a man. The man told hospital staff that the Sayvon had choked on a rock and he’d given the toddler the Heimlich maneuver. He claimed he’d possibly done it ‘too hard’. Unfortunately Sayvon was already dead when the toddler arrived. Hospital staff soon found evidence of long-term abuse and nothing that substantiated the man’s story. The following day the Medical Examiner ruled that his death was a homicide, the result of blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

This is the sixth Tacoma homicide this year and the seventh Tacoma homicide since 2011 involving a child under three years of age. Typically when I write about homicides I try to do as much research as I can on who the person was in life. When it comes to deaths like these, the person didn’t even get to find out who they were and Tacoma is less than it could be because of the loss.

As is so often true with these situations, I simply don’t have a lot to write because the victim didn’t get to live long enough for there to be much to write about.

Sayvon’s mother is currently pregnant. The unborn child’s father is the man now being charged with the murder of Sayvon Jordan Jr. Sayvon’s own father is currently in prison.

– Jack Cameron

Izabel Laxamana: A Community Left Grieving. Where Do We Go From Here?

The Memorial At Izabel's Middle School

The Memorial At Izabel’s Middle School

It isn’t usual for Tacoma Stories to do more than one article about the same topic. It’s also not usual for someone other than me to write an article for Tacoma Stories. But the last few weeks have been unusual. There has been much talk and controversy about the suicide of Izabel Laxamana. Up until now, I’ve refrained from using the 13-year-old girl’s name. However, since it’s been used everywhere from the Washington Post to Seventeen Magazine, I think my refrain is fairly useless at this point.

I received the following article earlier today from a local psychotherapist. Her name is Cheryl L. Fracasso, Ph. D. She’s not just writing about Izabel. She’s writing about all of our children.

Before we get to the article, I just want to say if you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, you can call the National Suicide hotline any time day or night for free and anonymously at 1-800-273-8255.

Here’s Dr. Fracasso:

Not even three weeks after her death, one thing that is clear is that there is a whole community spanning globally now left grieving the tragic loss of Izabel Laxamana. The public response of support and compassion has been tremendous, evoking many strong and mixed emotions. As a psychologist, I, like many others, sat dumbfounded and deeply saddened as this case unfolded, hoping that the investigation would reveal some answers into the “how” and “why” behind this. In the end, the police investigation that closed last week that revealed no wrongdoing by the father and left more questions than answers. So where do we go from here?

While no legal action may be taken for the real Izabel, one thing that lives on is the iconic Izabel created by the facebook page, “Justice for Izabel.” Whether her suicide was due to abuse or not may never be answered since Izabel can no longer speak for herself. I only hope that those who may have further information about this case will gain the courage to speak up if there are facts that need to be investigated further. However, we must move on as a community and society and focus our efforts on preventing future tragedies like this from occurring. I for one am not interested in reading about media defending their positions and pointing fingers at one another due to the reporting of this case, nor am I interested in reading about what “could have” or “should have” been done. What I am interested in seeing is abuse awareness and prevention efforts launched in the local and global community so that not one more child is lost in this manner. We need to give our children a voice. We need to take them seriously when they come home and try to tell us things that are happening to their friends that do not seem right. Education about what abuse is and how it operates needs to be put forth in our schools, which encourages friends or family members to speak up. Abuse can only exist if those suffering from it and those who witness it are scared silent, and this needs to end. We need to stop this hideous cycle of abuse, bullying, and public shaming. Each of us on an individual level can start by speaking up when we observe anything out of the ordinary with a child.

If you or your children observe something going on that is not right, report it. Also, we need to take a look at our current Child Protective Service (CPS) measures and find more effective ways to protect our children when a report is pending. As legislation is right now, children are generally left in the home when a report is pending investigation and some investigations take months to resolve.

From a psychological perspective, it is my hopes that practitioners band together to launch efforts to educate our youth and society about classic signs of abuse and to end this silence and fear about speaking up. In this sense, we can get “Justice for Izabel” by insuring that we make changes in our current systems to minimize the chances of something like this happening again.

Blaming and pointing fingers at each other and individual agencies is not an effective use of energy. Rather, we need to band together with police departments, school districts, legislation, and media who have the power to make change, and say “Enough! We are not losing one more child!” Let’s end the silence!

My deepest condolences to all who have been touched by this case…especially friends, family, and others who knew her.

If you would like to open up further dialogue about this, I can be contacted at Please note, I am not interested in rehashing the details of this case. If you have further information, report it to the proper authorities. However, I do welcome suggestions on how social change efforts can be put in place to prevent future tragedies like this from occurring.

My sincerest regards,

– Cheryl L. Fracasso, Ph.D.

Dr. Fracasso is a psychotherapist based in Kent, Washington. She has served as a Psychologist with the State of Washington, Department of Social and Health Services, Developmental Disabilities Administration at Rainier School. She’s also worked as Case Manager with the City of Seattle, Office of Aging and Disability Services.

I’d like to thank Dr. Fracasso for sharing her thoughts with us. It’s important to talk and we’re interested in your comments. I’ll be approving any comments that aren’t insulting or accusatory.

– Jack Cameron

Special Comment: Regarding My Recent Coverage of a Local Girl’s Suicide

I’ve been writing some version of Tacoma Stories since 2006. In those years, I’ve learned quite a bit and come up with a style that works for the site. I report the facts.  Then I report what I think of those facts. My article about the young girl who jumped off the South 48th Street overpass has been viewed almost 300,000 times by people in over 130 countries. It has resulted in dozens if not hundreds of other articles including one in the Washington Post. Yesterday a radio station from San Diego called me to talk about it.

Our local media however has been fairly quiet. During the weekend after I wrote the article I was contacted by three TV reporters and a newspaper reporter from The News Tribune. I talked to the News Tribune reporter on the phone. She wanted to know what I knew, wanted a link to the shaming video, and for me to pass along her contact information to my sources.

Yesterday, nine days after the incident, The News Tribune came out with its firstsubstantial piece on the young girl’s death. It included new information such as the fact that the girl left behind suicide notes. But it said she wrote them on an iPod which made no sense because iPods are for listening to music. It said that the trouble started on May 3rd when the girl sent a photo of herself to a boy which resulted in her father cutting her hair as a punishment two days before she jumped, but doesn’t explain the three weeks between those two incidents. So I thought better of adding another update to the original article because their information didn’t make a lot of sense.

Today The News Tribune came out with an unsigned editorial attacking the online coverage of this girl’s death and defending their near silence. It accuses us of spreading rumors as facts and attempting to publicly shame the victim’s family. I cannot speak for other websites or their coverage but given the sheer volume of traffic and the number of sites linking to mine about this, I feel these untrue accusations demand a response.

One of the primary purposes of Tacoma Stories is to put the victim and the victim’s family first because traditional media tends to lead with the killers rather than giving a thought to the victim or the victim’s family. This is why in the case of the young girl who jumped off the bridge I felt it was appropriate to not mention her or her family’s names. This is where the accusation that we’re publicly shaming the father falls flat. You can’t publicly shame someone you refuse to name.

As for the accusation that I’m spreading rumors as fact. This is also absolutely untrue. I said that a public shaming of the victim made by the victim’s father was released online, that days later she jumped from her grandparents’ car, and jumped off the S. 48th Street overpass. Not one of those facts are in dispute. After that I start talking about public shaming and its consequences and I point out this tragedy as an example.

The News Tribune has gone out of its way to say that the video had nothing whatsoever to do with the girl choosing to jump off the overpass. This is as much speculation as saying that the video was the sole reason for her choosing to jump. Tacoma Stories makes neither assertion. I believe that the video was a contributing factor and I’ve said so. I don’t believe that the father or the family wanted the victim harmed in any way. These are my opinions on the matter.

I also believe that the family of the victim is going through something unimaginable and deserve privacy during a time I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Of course they shouldn’t be publicly shamed. This is why I never named them. It’s also why I took down offending comments and closed the comments section of the original post when the family asked me to do so.

To be clear, I do agree with the News Tribune that some coverage of this story has been reprehensible and deserving of criticism. Though I would argue that lack of coverage is worth criticizing as well.

Traditional media has spent years trying to understand the online world and how to monetize it. They scoff at bloggers and other ‘citizen journalists’ who write because we have an interest and a passion in something. And yet we’re among the first people they contact when they’re looking for a source.

– Jack Cameron

Update 06/14/15: The News Tribune has posted yet another editorial about this. I’ve decided that it’s inappropriate to continue to respond to the local paper’s accusations on this page. For my response, go to the TacomaStories Facebook page.

The Last Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Joshua Sullivan Jr.


I do my best to write about every homicide that happens in the city of Tacoma. Mostly I rely on media reports and a few other sources to confirm events or information. Occasionally there will be a homicide and almost no media coverage whatsoever. That was the case in the short life of Joshua Sullivan Jr.

Joshua Sullivan Jr. was born on May 16, 2013. Seven days later he was brought into Tacoma’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. His injuries, mostly around his head concerned the staff there. They contacted the Tacoma Police Department.

After initially denying that they knew anything about their son’s injuries, Joshua’s father admitted to being ‘frustrated’ with the baby.

Sixteen months later, in September 2014 Joshua Sullivan Jr. died from his injuries. Since then the two other children in the home have been placed in foster care and the father has been put in prison. Today Pierce County prosecutors have charged his father with the homicide.

These are my least favorite homicides to write about. Newborns can be very difficult for some people to deal with. Washington State has a Safe Haven law. Anyone can drop off their newborn at a Hospital or a Fire Station safely and anonymously no questions asked and no judgments given. If you need help with a baby, please call the National Safe Haven Alliance at 1-866-510-BABY (1-866-510-2229).

My thoughts go out to the family of Joshua Sullivan, Jr.

– Jack Cameron