24th Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Kalyn Smith

On the morning of October 12, 2021, thirty-year-old Kalyn Smith’s body was found in the 3100 block of East M Street. It would be eight months before the Medical Examiner would rule her death a homicide. She died from someone crushing her throat. And now, over a year later, there remains no further information as to who is responsible or the circumstances that led to Kalyn’s death.

Kalyn is the twenty-fourth Tacoma homicide of 2021. My research into her is hampered by the fact that she had a common last name, does not seem to have had a large online presence, and the simple fact that not a lot of information has been released about this particular homicide. It wasn’t until June of 2022 that the Medical Examiner decided it was a homicide.

Also as the homicide rate rises, the media coverage of homicides decreases. This results in less information being publicly available about the individual.

What I can say from years of writing about Tacoma homicides is that there are friends and family of Kalyn who will never be the same due to her loss. And that while the media may largely ignore homicides that they see as unimportant, for some this homicide will mean quite a lot.

As always, the comment section is reserved for those who knew Kalyn and want to share thoughts or memories of her. If you happen to have a photo of her you’d like to accompany this article, please contact me at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

  • Jack

23rd Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Diego Escalante

On the night of his death Diego Escalante was living in a homeless encampment near South 38th and McKinley Avenue. He was a friendly guy who had worked as a cook. He was funny. And he loved to share stories from the bible that he had memorized. At 1:30am on September 25, 2021 he was sitting in a chair when an intoxicated 21-year-old approached him and shot him three times. Diego died on the scene.

When the mother of the 21-year-old heard about the murder she had suspicions her son was responsible. They lived nine blocks from the homeless encampment. Her son had purchased a pistol and he had frequently talked about how he felt homeless people should be killed. She contacted police with her suspicions and her son was charged with first degree murder.

Diego’s killer did not know him and had no previous contact with him. By all account Diego was a random victim of a mentally deranged intoxicated young man who had all too easy access to deadly weapons and violent urges. His death was a senseless act of violence that ripped a hole in the lives of all who knew and loved Diego.

The animosity towards homeless individuals is just as misguided as any other form of bigotry.

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


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22nd Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Antonio Deshaun Robinson

It was just after 5:30am on September 23, 2021 when someone knocked on the door of the motel room 35-year-old Antonio Deshaun Robinson was sharing with his girlfriend in the 8800 block of Hosmer Street. The person at the door told Antonio that a 42-year-old man who had stolen a gun from Antonio was in the parking lot. Antonio went outside to confront the man who had stolen his gun. An argument ensued that soon became physical. The 42-year-old man shot Antonio once, then fired three more times. When first responders arrived around 5:40am, Antonio was still alive, but just after 6:00am he succumbed to his injuries becoming the twenty-third Tacoma homicide of 2021.

Police quickly identified the man responsible and arrested him in early November 2021. He was charged with second degree murder. Ammunition found in the motel room matched the ammunition from the gun used to kill Antonio.

Hosmer Street from South 72nd to South 96th is the most dangerous street in the city of Tacoma with multiple murders happening there every year.

This is not the first tragedy to hit Antonio’s family. In 2012, his brother Gary was shot and killed in Missouri. I can’t imagine the pain his family is feeling. Antonio had a young son who has forever lost his father.

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

-Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.

21st Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Soohui Kim

On the last night of her life, 42-year-old Soohui Kim went to a casino with her friend. It was September 21, 2021. They left in the early morning hours of September 22nd. Her friend fell asleep. Soohui had some ‘clear’ she wanted to sell. ‘Clear’ is slang for a kind of methamphetamine. She knew someone who wanted to buy it but he wasn’t someone she’d ever sold to before. She exchanged a few text messages with the man before agreeing to meet in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 4500 block of South Puget Sound Avenue.

Around 4:30am, a few minutes before Soohui and her friend arrived in her SUV, the man she was texting with pulled up in a Honda and met with two other men. Those men waited for Soohui to pull up. Soohui’s friend woke up when they pulled into the parking lot. Moments later, the two men approached the vehicle from behind and fired 5-6 shots into the vehicle. Soohui immediately pulled out of the parking lot and drove away. Her friend had been grazed by a bullet. Soohui had been shot twice and crashed into a telephone pole on South 47th and Pine. Her friend ran to a nearby convenience store and called 9-1-1, but Soohui Kim was dead by the time first responders arrived becoming the twenty-first homicide of 2021.

With the help of witnesses, video surveillance, and cellphone data, police were able to identify, arrest, and charge the three men responsible for Soohui Kim’s murder.

I wasn’t able to find much about Soohui Kim’s life, friends, or family, but I know that she was more than someone who sold drugs. It’s all too easy for some to dismiss people involved in criminal activity as nothing more than criminals, but all of us are more than the worst things we’ve done. Soohui Kim had friends and family who will never hear her laugh again. They have a hole in their lives that will never be repaired. It is a loss they will simply get used to with time.

As always the comment section is reserved for those who knew Soohui Kim and would like to share thoughts or memories of her.

-Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.

20th Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Rikki Lynn Millerup

On the morning of September 6, 2021 a 49-year-old man with severe mental illness entered a gym in the 9700 block of Pacific Avenue. He asked about a membership and then attacked the clerk before leaving. Shortly after that altercation, about a block away he encountered 40-year-old Rikki Lynn Millerup, a homeless woman who stayed in a tent near there. He cut her throat then stabbed her ten more times. The man then stole her wallet and debit card from her backpack. A friend of Rikki’s saw her in her tent that morning but assumed she was passed out until he saw her in the same position hours later and called authorities. She was dead when first responders arrived becoming the twentieth Tacoma homicide of 2021.

Rikki’s killer was found hiding in bushes shortly after.

I was unable to find much information about Rikki Lynn Millerup. This is fairly common when the victim is homeless. People say she was a nice person.  In situations like this I’m forced to rely on thoughts and memories of people who knew the victim to fill in what isn’t available. This is why the comment section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Rikki and want to share the stories of the person they’ve lost.

– Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.

19th Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Job Anthony William Irving

It was around midnight on August 26th, 2021 when 30-year-old Job Anthony William Irving and a friend arrived at the Shell gas station on South 15th and Sprague. Shortly afterwards both Job and his friend were both shot. His friend survived his wounds, but Job died on the scene and became Tacoma’s 19th homicide of 2021.

Job spent most of his life in Sacramento, California where his family moved when he was a child. Shortly after graduating high school he joined the Army Reserves. In January of 2020 he reenlisted becoming an active duty soldier and training as a nurse. His training complete, he was statins at Joint Base Lewis McChord in March of 2021. Only five months later he lost his life.

Job had a great sense of humor, an infectious laugh and was known for his big bear hugs. He clearly wanted to serve his country and help people. He lived a life that mattered. He is missed.

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

– Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.

Five Question Friday With Creative Colloquy’s Jackie Fender (Casella)

Hello and welcome again to Five Question Friday. Each Friday we find someone doing something interesting in Tacoma and ask them five questions.

Today’s guest was technically my boss for the past couple of years. I worked as one of her editors at Creative Colloquy. When I decided to bring back Five Question Friday, Jackie was the first person I contacted. She’s not just a founder of Creative Colloquy, but also a good friend and an all around awesome person. And Creative Colloquy is one of my favorite things about Tacoma.

Creative Colloquy is a local literary group that has monthly readings every third Monday of the month. They also maintain a website and regularly publish paperback anthologies, the latest of which, volume 9, is coming out later this year.

Here’s Jackie:

1. How did Creative Colloquy deal with the pandemic?

We were initially hesitant but really leaned into virtual gatherings. The world shut down on the day that would have been our 6 year anniversary celebration. We chose to continue connecting via zoom because it felt as though, especially in the beginning days that people were hungry for connection. During the days of quarantine a break in seclusion was welcome. After a time we introduced workshops to our programming to amplify our offerings and curate opportunities to hone our craft and connect with like minded creatives in a time that many of us weren’t working and may have been afforded the luxury of time to spend with the written word since the world had shut down.We witnessed some valuable connections take place – even if the zoom applause was silent. 

2. What’s the best part about doing in-person readings again?

The collective stillness in the air, a shared chuckle, an in person round of applause, those things are unmatched and cannot be replicated with virtual events. 

3. Besides the website and monthly readings, what else is Creative Colloquy up to?

We’re in the midst of editing and accepting accompanying visual art pieces for our 9th print anthology due to launch this year. We’re also hosting regular writers workshops throughout the year for writers of all genres and experience levels AND hosting a semi regular writer’s social hours called Pens n’ Pies. The idea is to connect as writers and tour local pizza joints. We talk all things writing, life, publishing and more. In October we plan to gather for the Creative Colloquy Crawl, in person, proper crawl like for the first time in 2019. Like past years you can expect community collaborator curated readings, poetry, short stories, music, live art – a true choose your own adventure literary journey. And of course this summer we will be making our rounds with the CC Book Bike Pop Ups at local parks to distribute free books to the masses. This February we’ll be distributing another round of found art with our CC Message in a Bottle series. This time we were inspired by Tacoma Monkeyshines and used the Year of the Water Rabbit as a call for submissions prompt with stories centering around themes of peace, hope and longevity. 

4.  How can people help support Creative Colloquy?

CC is fiscally sponsored by Shunpike and functions as a non profit so tax deductible donations can be made from our website. We also have a Patreon page with fun membership perks. All funds help us keep events accessible, almost always free to the public, plus general admin fees, website hosting, publishing costs, etc. AND of course spreading the word! We are always accepting poetry, short stories, essays and novel excerpts for online publication which results in an invite to appear as a feature reader. Showing up to support our fellow writerly friends and neighbors is the very best support. Writing is a solitary action, making space for community and connection nourishes us in so many ways. 

5. What’s next for Creative Colloquy?

We have some fun things in the works – aside from what we have on the calendar we are really looking forward to expanding our programming to showcase local writer’s more and more. From now to 2024 things we’re building towards include more gatherings centering around a dialogue, a podcast and a summer lit fest we’ve been day dreaming about for ages. We’re always exploring ways to support local storytellers so who knows how things will evolve. 

Thank you to Jackie Fender (Casella) for participating in Five Question Friday. You can find Jackie on Twitter @jacksfender and Creative Colloquy is at https://creativecolloquy.com.

If you think you or someone you know might make a good participant for Five Question Friday let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com.
– Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.

18th Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Dalvon Eugene Edwards Shinhoster

I can tell you that Dalvon Eugene Edwards-Shinhoster loved basketball. He played it on the weekends and whenever he could get a chance. He was 39 years old. He graduated from Foss High School, class of 2000. He was the sort of guy who was always willing to take the time to help out those in need. He was a father, a brother, an uncle, and a good friend.

What I can’t tell you is what happened to Dalvon on the morning of August 16, 2021. He was found unresponsive in an apartment parking lot in the TK block of TK at around 9:00am. First responders were called, but he was dead on the scene. His death has been ruled a homicide, but as of this writing over nine months later, police have not released Dalvon’s cause of death, any known circumstances leading up to his death, or any description of a suspect. I cannot tell you how Dalvon became the 18th Tacoma homicide of 2021. I can just tell you that he is missed by those who knew him.

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

-Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.

17th Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Aaron Gentry Mathiason

On the evening of August 8, 2021, 46-year-old Aaron Gentry Mathiason was riding his bicycle along Pacific Avenue near South 72nd Street. A 53-year-old man who claimed Aaron had sold him bad drugs spotted him shortly before 10:00pm. The man returned to his apartment to pick up a switchblade knife. The man returned to Pacific Avenue and caught up with Aaron in a parking lot of a grocery store. The two argued. Aaron got off his bike. The man stabbed him in the chest. Video surveillance shows the man running away. Aaron was taken to a local hospital where he died during surgery. The man who stabbed him was arrested and charged with second degree murder.  Aaron is the 17th Tacoma homicide of 2021.

All too often homicides like these are ignored by most people. It’s all too easy to see it as just another drug murder and move on. But this ignores the population impacted by Aaron’s death. His family. His friends. His loved ones. The people who remember his laugh and will never hear it again. The fact that drugs may have been involved in his death do nothing to eliminate the hurt or lessen the results of his life being stolen from him.

As always the comment section is reserved for those who knew Aaron who want to share thoughts and memories of him.

– Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.

16th Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Bud Morgan

In the early morning hours of July 24, 2021 Bud Morgan was in Wright Park. The 32-year-old had left his home finding the walls too confining and wanting desperately to get out, get away, just go. In recent years, Bud had started taking methamphetamines. It wasn’t something he was proud of and he preferred to deal with the addiction on his own. This particular night he ran into two young men. One of them had a gun. There was yelling. One man told the other to shoot. The gunshots woke up nearby neighbors, but it would not be until a couple hours later when a passerby found Bud’s body. Bud Morgan is the sixteenth Tacoma homicide of 2021.

The two men responsible for Bud’s death were caught a few weeks later using surveillance camera footage and images from social media.

Bud was a generous guy. He enjoyed helping people. It wouldn’t be uncommon for him to drop everything and do what he could to help someone in need. It’s easy for some to think that a drug addiction invalidates a person’s humanity, but the truth of it is, that those who turn to drugs are often the ones who care the most, who love the most, and who hurt the most. A person does not escape into drugs unless they have a feeling they want to escape from.

Bud’s death, like that of the woman killed hours earlier, was senseless and done with a callous disregard for the impact a death has on the families and friends of the victims.

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

– Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.