I used to work for the Law Enforcement Support Agency in Tacoma. I transcribed police reports and quickly learned exactly how many bad things happened in Tacoma that never got mentioned in the paper or on the news. At the time we had a three-month backlog. The problem was that there were far more criminal activities happening than there were people to transcribe them. They hired some temps, worked 24 hour rotating shifts and got it within 48 hours. My joke at the time, was, “Can’t we just ask criminals of Tacoma to just wait a couple days before they commit their next crime so we can get caught up?”
So I took a few weeks off of writing. Mainly because I needed to find a new day job and I wanted to start organizing my new site, www.jackcameron.com . Don’t click the link yet, there’s nothing there. I also submitted a couple short stories to a couple of magazines, found a new job, and dealt with my grandfather passing away. It’s been a busy month.
Unfortunately it’s also been a busy month for crime in Tacoma. Since my last writing, there have been two more homicides.
Tacoma’s second homicide of 2007 occurred when twenty-three year old Dominick Garbagni got into an argument with another man in the early hours of January 20th at a tavern on the corner of South 56th and M Street. The argument continued as they went outside and one of them pushed the other (witness accounts vary as to who did the pushing). The fight continued and Domick fell to the ground and hit his head. Two friends of Dominick’s then attacked the man. Dominick died later that day from the head injury. The man who killed him was also injured and briefly taken to the hospital. Both he and one of Dominick’s friends were arrested.
After looking over the case, prosecutor’s decided not to file charges against the man or Dominick’s friend because they say it was unclear whether he acted in self-defense or not.
This is one of those cases where it’s easy to make assumptions about what happened and who is more responsible than the other. I think it’s clear that whatever they were arguing about, no one intended to kill anyone. But lack of intent doesn’t bring back a loved one.
As of this writing, detectives are still looking into this case and charges may yet be filed.
Another argument, this one on the Hilltop resulted in Tacoma’s third homicide for 2007. Two men were arguing around 1:40am Friday morning at a gas station on Hilltop. As the argument continued, a third man got involved. One of the two men then decided to leave at which point the third man shot and killed him. He then ran into the alley and hopped into a car.
A block away, a police officer heard the shots and was there in less than a minute. He saw the guy get into the car and soon after, the shooter was arrested.
I currently don’t have the name of the victim because his family has not been notified. Though honestly, I’m not sure I’ll be able to get it because someone getting shot and killed in the middle of the night on Hilltop is not something that rates much news coverage. I looked at the Seatle Times website and they seem more interested in the fact that next week’s Grey’s Anatomy is going to have some fictional disaster in Seattle. Any media organization outside of Tacoma is going to say “What? Someone got killed on Hilltop last night? Yeah, I’m gonna stop the presses for that one.” (And any news organization in Seattle is going to say, "What? Something happened outside of Seattle? Who gives a f*ck?")
This is a shame because Hilltop isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be. In the early nineties during the summer, you could hear gunfire on a nightly basis. One year Tacoma actually had more drive by shootings than Los Angeles. But the anti-gang task force and a number of other factors, helped make Hilltop a better place. Though it’s still not a place to get into an argument at a gas station in the middle of the night, it’s better than Tacoma’s east side at this time.
Unless someone kills someone else in the next few days, my next entry won’t be about death. It will be about the attempted murder of one of Tacoma’s most famous landmarks: Bob’s Java Jive.
Until then, remember some people are as dumb as dumb as a box of hammers. Don’t argue with them. There’s no point.-Jack