Tacoma’s first homicide this year was 33-year-old Georgia Gunzer. Gunzer worked as a medical assistant and by all accounts was one of the happiest people you could ever meet. It seems that she was one of those people who always tried to see the best in people. In other words, she was the sort of person that makes Tacoma great.
Georgia had a daughter. She’s ten years old. Her daughter’s father got out of prison in October. He’d just done five years. During that time, according to court documents, Georgia Gunzer visited him six times. In October, she asked for a restraining order against him because she feared for her safety once he got out. This was not the first protection order she’d gotten against him. This order was denied because of her visits.
Friday, January 21st, Georgia Gunzer’s daughter had a slumber party at her apartment on in the 4200 block of South 50th Street. Georgia met up with her daughter’s 35-year-old father and they returned together to the apartment around 3am. While her daughter and friends were in the living room, Georgia and her ex-boyfriend argued in her bedroom. At one point, Georgia’s daughter knocked on the locked bedroom door and told them to quiet down so she and her friends could sleep.
Saturday morning, Georgia Gunzer’s ex-boyfriend arrived at Tacoma General Hospital in bloody clothing. He called 911 and said that he had gotten into a fight with his ex and that he may have “hurt her real bad”.
Georgia Gunzer’s daughter managed to open her mother’s bedroom door and found her in a pool of blood. She’d been stabbed at least twenty times. Police arrived and her ex-boyfriend was arrested. Monday morning her ex-boyfriend was charged with first degree murder.
There is already a lot of talk about ‘the system’ failing Georgia Gunzer. Friends say she’d done everything she could to protect herself within the law. I suppose it’s fairly easy to see it that way, but there’s really no evidence that a restraining order would have stopped this horrible crime from happening. Georgia’s ex-boyfriend was a career criminal. He wasn’t someone who behaved within the law and there’s nothing that says he wouldn’t have just violated the restraining order.
Similarly, there are those who want to blame Georgia Gunzer, her choice of men, and her apparent desire to keep this man in her life. Again, I think this misses the point. I didn’t know Georgia Gunzer, but from what I can tell from statements from her friends, she was someone who thought there was good in everyone and wanted to make things work. I can understand that. Similarly I can understand her ending up with a romantic partner who was just a bad person. This happens to almost everyone. Not all of us end up with murderers, but who among us doesn’t have at least one ex we can look at now and think how did we make such a big mistake?
The blame for Georgia Gunzer’s murder has to fall on her ex-boyfriend because by all accounts, he’s the one who killed her. Blaming the system and blaming the victim is counter-productive and incorrect. She was murdered by a murderer and she shouldn’t have been. That’s the sad truth.
NOTE: Chronicling Tacoma’s homicides is something I did a few years ago for a couple of years and I’ve decided to start doing it again. The idea behind it is to try to do a bit more than just a news story and focus on the victim of the crime. Whenever possible, I avoid using the name of the killer because it’s my opinion that such people don’t need or deserve any sort of publicity. I welcome comments, but warn that any threatening comments will not only not be accepted but will be reported as well. (I only add that last bit because the last time I did this, I received more than a couple of serious threats.) I especially appreciate any comments from friends or family who want to add or correct anything. Thank you.