Last Monday afternoon a brown Oldsmobile parked on Alaska Street near South 90th. A blue sedan parked nearby and the passenger of the Oldsmobile, 21-year-old Jeffery Mario Norris-Romine stepped out of the vehicle and to talk with the two occupants of the blue sedan. Words were exchanged and then there were three gunshots. The blue sedan drove away and Jeffery Norris-Romine was lying on the street critically wounded. A gun lay near him.
Three days later, Jeffery died at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Tacoma Homicide Detective Chris Taylor followed a handful of leads but eventually decided to seek the public’s help. Police are looking for that blue sedan with chrome rims that witnesses saw fleeing the scene. And Crimestoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. The tip line number is 253-591-5959.
If you ask people in the area where this occurred what their neighborhood is like they’ll tell you that it’s bad and getting worse. Many will say that they plan on moving as soon as they can. It’s bad enough that someone shooting another man in broad daylight on a South Tacoma street barely rates a headline in the Tacoma paper and won’t be mentioned at all by Seattle papers or Seattle’s KOMO television.
While Tacoma has improved from the days of the early 90’s when I used to go to sleep to the sound of sirens and drive by shootings, it’s reputation as a city full of crime hasn’t gone away and the crime rate is rising. Still, we’ve nowhere near the crime rates of most east coast cities and are relatively even with Seattle when it comes to major crimes per capita.
What angers me is not the lack of media attention that cases like this get. It’s that there isn’t really any public outrage about this sort of thing. We don’t see the community or our local leaders saying that people shooting people in broad daylight on the street will not stand. It’s as if it’s kind of expected that it’ll happen from time to time. And it’s this very apathy that creates an environment where these things happen.