26th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Aiden Gage Walters

Aiden Gage Walters lived with his mother, his girlfriend and his 18-year-old little brother in a house in 1000 block of South 88th Street. He was 23 years old. On the morning of Saturday, November 14, 2020 Aiden had a friend over. Aiden’s brother did not like the friend and started harassing him, at one point he threw a clock at the friend. Aiden and his brother began arguing. His brother had a Leatherman tool with the knife on it extended. When their mother saw that the fight was turning physical and that her youngest son had a knife she tried to intervene, but during the fight he stabbed Aiden twice in the left side of the head.

Aiden told his girlfriend he needed medical attention as he was bleeding profusely. She began to drive him to the hospital, but were met along the way by an ambulance. Aiden later died of his wounds Sunday night becoming the 26th Tacoma homicide of 2020. Aiden’s brother was arrested and charged with second degree murder.

I couldn’t find much information online about Aiden. As the father of a son his age, I can say that his life was just beginning and a fight that didn’t need to turn deadly has robbed us of learning what sort of man Aiden would have grown up to be.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Aiden and want to share thoughts or memories of him.

– Jack

25th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: James ‘Jimmy’ Wamsley

43-year-old James ‘Jimmy’ Wamsley was at a friend’s home in the 7600 block of South J Street on the evening of October 1st, 2020. The house was a known drug house with frequent visitors. One person who lived there said there were twenty to thirty people in and out of the house every day. There were seven people in the bedroom when Jimmy was accosted by another 42-year-old who accused him of harming a woman they both knew.  Jimmy denied it. The argument soon became physical and the 42-year-old shot Jimmy once in the chest before leaving.

Twelve minutes elapsed between the time Jimmy was shot and the time someone in the house called 9-1-1. When asked who had been at the house, no one mentioned the name of the gunman. Once police had secured the scene, paramedics arrived, but he was pronounced dead at the scene becoming Tacoma’s 25th homicide victim this year.

It would be over three months before police caught up to the man who shot Jimmy. There is no evidence that anything the gunman said about him was true.

Friends and family say that Jimmy was larger than life and a loyal friend. He was the sort of person who believed that family didn’t have to be blood related. He had a great laugh. He had a rough upbringing and got into his share of trouble, but most remember him as a guy always willing to help out. At the time of this writing, Jimmy has been gone almost a full year, but for those who knew him, the hurt is still very fresh like it is for so many people who knew victims of homicide.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Jimmy and want to share thoughts or memories of him.

– Jack Cameron

24th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Christian Martinez

Christian Martinez was looking forward to seeing his friend who had recently been released from prison in the early morning hours of Friday, September 25th. They had known each other since they were six years old. They had both joined the same gang. Christian had decided to leave the gang, but still wanted to see his friend. Christian was in the passenger seat of his van while a female friend of his drove. They were going to meet up with his buddy at a convenience store and eventually settled on a convenience store in the 3900 block of East Portland Avenue. It was just after one in the morning when they pulled up.

The driver of the van got out of the vehicle to go inside the store. Christian stayed in the van, but rolled down the passenger side window when he saw his old friend approaching. Christian said, “What’s up?” and began to reach his hand out to shake hands when his old friend pulled out a handgun and fired three times before running away. The driver of the vehicle had just been entering the store the she heard the gunshots and Christian yelling that they needed to leave. She returned to the van and saw that he’d been shot in the neck. She drove Christian to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he later died from his wounds becoming the 24th Tacoma homicide of 2020.

The following Monday, police caught up to his friend near a hotel on Hosmer and arrested him after a short chase. Their investigation found that higher ups in the gang had demanded Christian’s friend kill him for leaving the gang.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find much information about Christian online. If friends or relatives have a photo they’d like to accompany this article, please contact me at jackcameronis@gmail.com

As always the comments section is reserved for family and friends who want to share memories or thoughts about Christian. All comments are moderated before they are posted.

– Jack Cameron

23rd Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Dylan Coolidge

Dylan Coolidge was the kind of kid who made friends wherever he went. He was 19-years-old. While he was in a juvenile facility, he made friends with another kid who was in a rival gang. On the evening of September 21st, Dylan received a message from that friend that he wanted to hang out. Dylan and another friend made their way to South 23rd and M Street not knowing it was a set up. A sedan pulled up. A 15-year-old boy in the passenger seat fired four shots. Dylan and his friend scattered, but Dylan got shot in the abdomen. As the car sped off, Dylan’s friend yelled for neighbors to call 911. Dylan was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he later died from his wounds. The 15-year-old was eventually arrested and has been charged with first degree murder. Dylan is the twenty-third Tacoma homicide this year.

In the 1990s a shooting like this on Tacoma’s Hilltop would be fairly commonplace, but times have changed and these sorts of shootings are the exceptions rather than the rule. That said, the violence in Tacoma has begun to swing back towards the chaos on the 1990s.

With so many homicides, it’s sometimes difficult to keep in mind how much each one impacts the victim’s friends, family, and surrounding community. And while some people may want to dismiss a drive-by shooting by a rival gang as gang violence, those people should be reminded of the human cost. Dylan was 19-years-old. We’ll never know the kind of man he would have grown up to be. And the people who knew him will never replace his laugh, which was infectious and will never be heard again.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew and liked Dylan Coolidge and want to share thoughts or memories of him.

  • Jack Cameron

22nd Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Terrence Wilkins

It was nearly midnight on Friday August 14th when three men in masks approached a homeless camp in the 6600 block of Alaska Avenue. One stood watch while the other two brandished handguns and robbed multiple people. One of those people was 39-year-old Terrence Wilkins. By all accounts Terry, as his friends called him, tried to diffuse the situation and keep people safe. For his heroism, the two men with guns shot him in the chest. He died becoming the twenty-second Tacoma homicide of 2020.

Terrence was an artist and loved to draw. People say he was a loving, caring person who found comfort in his religion, always happy to pray with someone. His absence is felt among his community and his contribution to our city will not be forgotten. Terrence’s killers have yet to be brought to justice.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Terry and want to share thoughts or memories of him.

  • Jack Cameron

21st Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Jake Red

Jake Red was twenty-eight years old. He was born in New Orleans, the oldest of four children. He was funny and outgoing. People tended to like Jake Red when they met him. On August 12th he was hanging out with friends when one of them accused him of sleeping with that friend’s children’s mother. He hadn’t and said so. The conversation then drifted to other topics. Later in the day, at around 5pm, the friend pulled up alongside a vehicle Jake was riding in. He asked Jake why he wasn’t answering his cellphone. The two vehicles pulled into a parking lot on South 64th and Yakima so the three men could talk. The friend again accused Jake of being involved with that man’s children’s mother. Jake again denied it. The friend then retrieved a handgun and said, “I think you’re playing me.” And then he started shooting.

The man in the SUV with Jake returned fire with his own gun as the friend fled. The man then began to drive to get Jake help. Police arrived moments later, but by that time Jake had died from gunshot wounds to his neck, back, and stomach. Jake is the twenty-first Tacoma homicide this year.

Jake’s killer was found a few hours later hiding under a vehicle where he shot a police dog before being shot himself by police sustaining non-life-threatening injuries.

The resulting media coverage of Jake’s murder and its aftermath focused more on Ranja the police dog than Jake Red. And while I’m sure there’s a real loss within the police department in Ranja’s death, there is no comparison to be made to the depth of loss of Jake Red. Jake had a family, friends, and loved ones. He loved children though he never had a chance to have any himself.

The comments section is reserved for friends and family of Jake Red to share thoughts and memories of him. He is not forgotten.

  • Jack Cameron

20th Homicide of 2020: Ty Allen Jenkins

In the early morning hours of August 1st, 25-year-old Ty Jenkins was walking to his car in the Emerald Queen Casino’s South parking lot. Someone approached him and fired multiple shots, killing him. Tribal police were on the scene in minutes and saw someone running away, but the individual could not be located. Ty is the twentieth Tacoma homicide this year.

Ty was from Las Vegas. He came from a loving and close family. He was an eldest son and a father. I wish that I could tell you more about what happened to him, but even months later, the facts of his death remain largely unknown or at least not revealed to the public. As Ty’s murder occurred on tribal land, the FBI is investigating the case.

Ty’s family has started a GoFundMe Campaign for his cremation and transportation costs. As always the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Ty and want to share thoughts or memories of him.

  • Jack

19th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Diana Davis

On the afternoon of July 27, 2020 50-year-old Diana Davis was tending her plot in a community garden off of South 21st and Proctor. She’d found a large tomato she thought she might use for dinner that evening, but that would never happen.

Diana’s friends and family noticed when they were unable to get in touch with her the next day but didn’t think a lot of it. The next night, everything changed.

 Around 11pm on July 29th, Diana’s silver Impala was found engulfed in flames in an alleyway in downtown Tacoma, miles away from the garden she where she was last seen and nowhere near any place that Diana frequented. There was no sign of Diana.

Diana’s body would not be found until August 5th more than sixty miles away in a desolate area near Snoqualmie Pass. Nearly nine months later, it remains a mystery what happened to Diana Davis after she left the community garden on South 21st and Proctor.

Diana is the 19th homicide of 2020. Every homicide leaves behind dozens of friends and family enduring an unimaginable sense of loss, but there is an added trauma when there are no answers as to what happened or who was responsible for the loss of a loved one.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 cash reward for information in the death of Diana Davis. You can remain completely anonymous. The number is 1-800-222-TIPS(8477). You can also submit a tip using the P3 Tips app on your smart phone.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for the friends and family of Diana Davis who want to share thoughts or memories of Diana.

  • Jack

18th Tacoma Homicide: Benito Juarez

Around 2am on July 11th, 23-year-old Benito Juarez Jr. was in the 3900 block of Ruston Way on Tacoma’s waterfront with a group of people. Ruston Way in the summer attracts crowds at all hours. On this particular night there were members of two gangs interacting. At some point one member of a gang thought a member of the other gang had disrespected them. A 17-year-old pulled out a gun and began firing. One bullet hit Benito Juarez in the forehead. Officers arrived on the scene minutes later as people got in their cars and left. Police performed CPR while paramedics arrived but they were unable to save Benito. Benito Juarez is the eighteenth Tacoma homicide this year.

Benito was a big guy with a big smile. He loved his family and his loss is something they all feel deeply. He was only 23-years-old. And there’s no telling what he could have offered the world in the future. That knowledge is stolen from us. But those who had him in their life are thankful for the time they had.

His family has a GoFundMe campaign set up. Please contribute if you can.

As always the comments section is moderated and reserved for friends and family of Benito who want to share thoughts or memories of him.

– Jack Cameron

17th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Megan Re

Around 4am on July 5th, a man came home to the house he shared with three others. Upon entering the home in the 1000 block of Pierce Street he found 31-year-old Jonna Hart and 34-year-old Megan Re both shot in the head. His other roommate, Jonna’s husband was nowhere to be found. The man called 9-1-1 and began attempting life-saving procedures, but it was no use. Jonna and Megan are the sixteenth and seventeenth Tacoma homicides this year.

Days later, Jonna’s Jeep would be found near the Narrows Bridge and her husband’s body would be found floating off of Vashon Island. His death was ruled a suicide.

I didn’t know Megan Re or her roommate, but Megan Re’s sister wrote the following after Megan’s death:

“Megan was a spitfire ball of energy, who lived every day full of love and light. She was hilarious and sarcastic but kind and so compassionate. She got oddball British humor and loved the weirdest anime shows, her music tastes were as eclectic and all inclusive as she was and she wanted to share that with everyone. She loved all animals except birds and bugs and fish but if it was furry she probably thought it was adorable. Megan could rock a sexy ass dress on the town or roll out of a tent in sweats in the woods and be as happy as a clam.

“And let’s not forget about how much she LOVED food! Haha most definitely a biproduct of working in the restaurant industry. Megan loved a well made meal and the type of food didn’t matter. She loved home cooked meals, BBQs, breakfasts food, desserts, any and all Asian dishes and everything Italian. She was all about a bomb breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon snack or dinner. Any chance to grub down good food, visit with friends and support a local restaurant she was down. She’d take you out and buy you lunch with her last dollar. If she was too broke to go out she’d still want to visit though and invite you over to watch Netflix or listen to music and eat pizza rolls. That’s just the type of person she was.

“When she asked how you were she really cared to know the answer, it wasn’t just a filler phrase for her. Once you were family you were family for life with Megan. She was the ultimate nomad and wanderer, a Gypsy to the core, never content to stay put but always curious of the next horizon.

I can’t imagine my life without my big sister in it. She’s always been there. We were the “Re” sisters and inseparable for the longest time. She was my first best friend, my partner in crime, the Marian to my Robin Hood as kids, the person who taught me about my period, boys, makeup and how to handle so much stuff in life, my first fighting partner (and whew did we go rounds at times😌) but as adults it didn’t matter how long it had been since we talked a few days or a few weeks it was the same old familiar routine.”

As always the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew and loved Megan and want to share their thoughts or memories of her.

  • Jack Cameron