In the early morning hours of Thursday April 16th, two or three men arrived at the apartment of Larnell Griffin on South 40th and S. Lawrence Street. One of them had a dispute with Larnell over a cellphone. According to a witness Larnell put his hands up and backed up. When his attacker did not lower the weapon, Larnell struggled to disarm him and was shot. Police arrived at 1:45am to reports of shots fired. Larnell was taken to Madigan Hospital where he died.
The murder of Larnell Griffin is only the second homicide in the city of Tacoma this year. And yet, despite the lack of lethal violence in Tacoma lately and an active manhunt, local media have all but ignored this killing. I found exactly one article on komonews.com with no mention of Larnell’s attacker and no articles at king5.com or kirotv.com. Our local paper, The News Tribune, Crime Stoppers, and this site are the extent of the media coverage in the death of 33-year-old Larnell Griffin.
Of course this is nothing new. All major local television is based out of Seattle and in Seattle, Tacoma is often still regarded as a place where these sort of shootings happen every day. Thankfully the crime rate in Tacoma has continued to go down.
However, no matter how low the crime rate might get, those who are friends and family of its victims are still devastated by their loss. No lack of coverage by the news can minimize what’s happened. According to Larnell’s Facebook page he was married. Photos show a young child. Whenever a life is lost, countless lives are changed.
As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim. Those who knew Larnell are encouraged to share their thoughts and memories. Each comment is approved by me to keep negative comments to a minimum.
To the friends and family of Larnell, I’m sorry for your loss. Here’s hoping his killer is apprehended and brought to justice quickly.
– Jack Cameron
Update: The person police believe is responsible for the murder of Larnell was arrested on the evening of 04/21.
Jesus Mendoza and his son
In the early afternoon of Monday February 10th a resident reported to police that there was a nylon bag containing what might be a body in a ravine near the 3000 block of Delin Street near South Tacoma Way. The bag was found in a steep area that was difficult to access behind an abandoned house frequented by transients.
On Tuesday the body was identified as 18-year-old Jesus Isidor-Mendoza, father of one. He’d been missing since October of last year. On October 22nd, Jesus left his mother’s house to go to class at Pierce College. He never arrived for class and he never returned home. His mother later reported him missing.
Police arrested two men in their 40s and one woman in connection with the death of Jesus. Charging papers state that Jesus met the two men in a detached garage that they lived in. For reasons unknown, Jesus was raped and drowned using a bucket of water. The assailants then cut his body into pieces, sealed them in plastic bags, and put those bags in a nylon bag. The nylon bag was found in the ravine.
This is easily the most horrific homicide I’ve ever written about in Tacoma. All three suspects are being held without bail.
As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Jesus Isidor-Mendoza and want to share memories of him.
– Jack Cameron
Two weeks ago a portable speaker was stolen from a 38-year-old man. For reasons unknown, he blamed 35-year-old John Scott Ware Jr. Last week he confronted John and the two of them got into an argument. This past Monday John Scott Ware Jr. was walking near South 12th and State Street. The same man started following him on a bicycle. At some point the man confronted John again. He knocked John to the ground and stabbed him repeatedly while asking him to beg for his life.
At some point John managed to get away from his attacker and went to a nearby house. He knocked on the door. A stranger answered the door. John said, “Help me.” before collapsing. Unfortunately his injuries were too severe and he died.
A few days later, police officers were able to arrest John’s killer using eyewitness testimony, surveillance footage from a camera at a house, and good police work.
This is Tacoma’s eleventh Tacoma homicide this year and the third homicide this year on Tacoma’s Hilltop. Unfortunately as the year winds down, our homicide rate seems to be increasing despite starting the year with almost three months with no homicides at all.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find much about John Scott Ware Jr. As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew the victim. Please share your thoughts or memories of John. If any loved one has a photo they’d like to share, please email it to email@example.com. I am sorry for your loss.
– Jack Cameron
It was hot last Saturday night in Tacoma. Long after the sun went down, it was still 80 degrees on one of the last days of summer. Sometime around 4am, police arrived at South 39th and Yakima Avenue responding to reports of gunfire and found the body of 32-year-old Michael Ward Jr. He’d been shot.
Police canvassed the area and roused an afterhours place run by a local motorcycle club. As of this writing, no suspects or witnesses have been located.
This is the third Tacoma homicide near an afterhours party since 2011. And the second homicide on the South Side of Tacoma in the last nine days. It’s also Tacoma’s tenth homicide this year.
Unfortunately there isn’t much information about Michael that I could find. And this is why I have the comments section for this site. It is reserved for those who knew Michael and want to share memories of him.
Police are asking for anyone who saw anything or knows anything about this shooting to contact them at 253-798-4721.
My thoughts go out to his friends and family. I’m sorry for your loss.
– Jack Cameron
UPDATE: Michael’s family is collecting funds for his funeral services. If you would like to donate, here’s the link http://www.gofundme.com/e82k6w
On the evening of Friday, August 29th, 20-year-old Doug Medlock was hanging out with a group who decided to rob a local pot dealer. The robbery took place near South 24th and Yakima. Another 20-year-old beat the pot dealer in the head with the butt of his pistol. The last time he hit the dealer the pistol discharged. The bullet hit Doug Medlock in the leg.
About 20 minutes later police arrived at the Jack In The Box on South 23rd and Pacific. It was 9:30pm. They found a 16-year-old and the 20-year-old who shot Doug. Both were very upset. They directed the officers to a car where they found Doug bleeding profusely from his leg injury. Paramedics were called, but the bullet had hit an artery and Doug Medlock bled out becoming the ninth homicide in Tacoma this year.
Initially the shooter told officers that someone else shot Doug and ran off, but eventually the 16-year-old gave a full account of what happened,
The shooting occurred only a few blocks from St. Joseph’s Hospital. Unfortunately the shooter was unfamiliar with the Tacoma area and had driven downtown to get help. The shooter has been charged with first-degree manslaughter and attempted robbery.The 16-year-old is not being charged.
Police are still looking to talk to anyone who was there when the shooting occurred.
As always, the comments section is moderated by me and is reserved for friends and family who want to share stories and memories of Doug.
– Jack Cameron
Last Thursday morning, a woman called 911 from a room at the King Oscar Hotel off of South 72nd and Hosmer. Her boyfriend had been shot with a shotgun. The wound was in his gut. He was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Later that afternoon he died from his wounds. His name was Kevin Young. He was 41 years old.
In the days that followed, two men and a woman have been arrested for his murder. Court documents show that an acquaintance of Kevin’s girlfriend was hanging out with them. They went to a nearby ATM where Kevin got out $30. Shortly after that the woman met with two men outside. One of the men wore a mask and had a shotgun. They entered the room. Kevin handed over the money and the man in the mask shot him. The entire robbery took less than twenty seconds.
While the arrests will hopefully get his friends and family justice, the pain of the loss of Kevin remains.
Kevin Young is the eighth Tacoma homicide victim this year. He had at one point worked for a fishing company in Alaska and more recently for Commercial Metals Company. He was the father of two.
As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Kevin who want to share stories and tell us about him and his life.
– Jack Cameron
It was between five and six in the morning on Thursday July 3rd. A man walked into his apartment in the 1100 block of Highlands Parkway just off of Pearl Street. Witnesses heard two or three shots. And then he left.
The next day on the Fourth of July, a friend and coworker of 28-year-old Renee Brooks’ stopped by that apartment. They had become concerned about her whereabouts and came to check on her. The friend found Renee’s body and called the police.
Renee’s death had been caused by multiple gun shots. Renee’s husband would be found and arrested on Tacoma’s South Side near South 49th Street on Saturday.
Renee worked at Subway and had previously worked at the Tacoma Rescue Mission. Renee, her husband and 3-year-old daughter had only moved into that apartment a few weeks ago. Neighbors say there were frequent fights.
Renee has become the seventh Tacoma homicide this year and the sixth Tacoma homicide this year that involved domestic violence. When the person responsible for the murder is a romantic partner, a parent, or child of the victim a homicide becomes an even worse tragedy for the family. Love ones are shocked and torn up by such a stunning event. Often it’s nearly impossible to reconcile the violent actions with the loved ones they once knew.
If you or someone you know is involved in a situation or relationship that is abusive or violent, I urge you to look into some of the resources at the link below. I’d rather not have to write an article like this about you.
As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of Renee Brooks. Please share your thoughts and memories of Renee with us. Tell us about her life and what Tacoma has lost with her death.
– Jack Cameron