Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2011 – Tony McDougald

At 4:40am Monday morning, a South Tacoma homeowner and his wife were woken up to the sounds of dogs barking. In the past few weeks, they’d had previous attempted break ins. Back in March, less than a block away, Marvin Plunkett was shot and killed. This neighborhood is no stranger to violence. So when the homeowner went out to investigate the noises he heard in his garage, he was armed with a pistol. He’d already told his wife to call 9-1-1. He confronted the two burglars and held them at gunpoint. Then the two men decided to charge him. He reacted by firing his weapon. One of the burglars was 36-year-old Tony McDougald. After being shot, Tony managed to run away into the alley where he died. The other wounded burglar remained near the garage where the homeowner used a first aid kit until the police and ambulance arrived.

The death of Tony McDougald  is the sixth Tacoma homicide in 2011 and the second death of a would-be burglar in the last seven weeks. As in the case of Jamarr Johnson, no charges will be filed against the homeowner. The message from Tacoma authorities is clear: If someone breaks in and you have a reasonable fear for your life, you can shoot them.  I don’t entirely disagree. I would argue that it’s the South Tacoma Way. I don’t think that burglary should be punishable by death, but you break into MY house, it just might be.

I grew up a block away from this latest homicide of South 40th and Fawcett. It was and is a lower middle class neighborhood full of gravel alleys, detached garages, and dogs. Like other kids in that area, I went to Whitman Elementary School and Stewart Middle School. And it was at Stewart Middle School that I first met Tony McDougald.

It was only this morning that I learned that it was Tony who had been killed. I’m still processing it. I haven’t seen Tony in over twenty years. To be honest, I always assumed that he was in prison. It wasn’t that Tony was a bad kid. He just rarely, if ever, followed the rules. He was shorter than most of the other kids our age, but he made up for that with personality and attitude.

In middle school in 1989 Tony wore ripped jeans, metal band shirts, a jean jacket, and hair that would not have looked out of place in a Bon Jovi video. He was rock n roll at a time when I was just figuring out who I was. I don’t remember how we became friends. I remember that we had a lot of conversations about the crazy stuff that he’d do. There was one morning our English class was all supposed to meet for a field trip and everyone was there but Tony. Someone asked where Tony was and just then we saw him running down the sidewalk with a security guard chasing him. There was no doubt that he was a criminal. Even back then. That said, he was still my friend and he was great to talk to. He was smarter than anyone ever gave him credit for. Most teachers saw the rocker outfit and just assumed he was a dumbass.

I don’t know what happened to Tony between 1989 and last Monday morning. From what little I know, he likely didn’t change too much. He was probably a good friend to the people who knew him. He probably broke rules when he felt like it. And while he probably never expected to die of gunshot wounds in an alley after trying to burglarize a place, I don’t think it would have surprised him.

One thing I know that the homeowner could not have known is that Tony wouldn’t have hurt him. The Tony I knew wasn’t really a violent guy. Tony was likely just running towards the guy to get away. But there’s no way the homeowner would have known that. He reacted in the way most people would in that situation. It wasn’t a murder, but it was a tragedy.

Tony was the first person I ever met who lived by his own set of rules. And even at thirteen years old he knew that there were consequences for living that way, but being like everyone else wasn’t even a possibility for Tony. I’m not sure I’d be the same person I am today without having had Tony as a friend in middle school. He was my first brush with rebellion. In a world of copies, Tony was a true original. He may have been a criminal, but he wasn’t a bad guy.

Update: A memorial for friends and family of Tony McDougald is planned for Saturday, June 4 at 11 a.m. at Elk Plain Community Church (4115 224thStreet E, Spanaway). The public is welcome.

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40 responses to “Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2011 – Tony McDougald

  1. TacomaCitizen

    I don’t see where you can say that McDougald wouldn’t have hurt anyone. You haven’t seen him for 20 years. McDougald was a lifelong criminal. He’d been arrested for manufacturing drugs, dv/assault, theft and various other crimes during his lifetime. He may have had a part of him that was a good person, but he buried that part by becoming a drug addict and turning to a life of crime. Please don’t blame the drugs for his problems. He decided to use the drugs in the first place, so he caused his own problems.

    He’s gone now. Society is better off for it too. McDougald was nothing but a drain to society and won’t be missed by anyone except the family and friends that have convinced themselves that he was a great person and ignored the drug manufacturing/use and other criminal behavior that ultimately lead to his death.

    • TonyMacsFriend

      Hey TCitizen ..people don’t become drug addicts … some people are and some people aren’t …yes he chose to go back out on the streets .. but…Tony was my friend and I hoped for him to conquer his demons and he didn’t.

    • You didn’t know Tony. I knew him for over 25 years and poeple make mistakes. You didn’t see the life he built for himself, his wife, and his childeren. Tony got out of prison and did everything in life he wanted to do. He made his dreams come true. He was a doted father, a loving faithful husband, a respectable brother, a dependable integetively driven son, and one he’ll of a friend. Shame on you for saying the bad things you said about NO ONE you knew, but forgiveness is the main key here. Don’t judge another unless you have walked a mile in his shoes. He still is loved and missed by many.

  2. As I said in the very next sentence, the Tony I knew wouldn’t have hurt the homeowner. He would have just tried to get away. Maybe he changed in the 20 odd years since I last saw him, but from the sounds of things, he was the same as he ever was. I didn’t even mention drugs in my post so I don’t see how I’m ‘blaming drugs’ for anything.

    Yes, he was a lifelong criminal. I think I was pretty clear about that when I said that he was criminal at 13. Yeah, he won’t be missed by anyone but friends and family, but that’s generally true of everyone. Odds are when you or I die, the same could be said of us.

    And again, I don’t ignore the fact that he put himself in the situation that got him killed. In fact, I point it out.

  3. My fiance and I knew Tony for quite awhile and sure we had our share of problems with him but all in all Tony was not a bad guy he made some poor decisions in life but that doesnt mean those actions actually defined the person he was. He had a big heart and despite his problems he tried to help everyone else out as much as he could. I choose to remember Tony for the person he was not the choices he made. RIP Tony Ill always remember you!

  4. I really wasn’t pointing my comments toward you. I should have mentioned it was more in regard to his friends and family who had been leaving comments on the tnt comments section about him.

    Old_Friend – Of course the actions a person take in life define the kind of person they are. He chose drugs and crime. That certainly defines the type of person he was. A drug addicted criminal.

    • Tacoma cit. I am glad to understand that all your life choices have all been correct. You like many others are uninformed about what causes people to chose alcohol or Drugs not going to justify the use of either or the responsibility of the consequences of the use of either. What i do disagree with is someone being labeled life long, i for a fact have witnessed people of all walks of life become dependent on substances and have experienced that there is hope my life is a perfect example i still make mistakes but i also choice not to use any mind or mood altering substances and this is the reason i have a problem with some one that has not experienced the malady of addiction spouting off about what they know nothing about. recovery is possible, this last month i have been gifted 17 years without substance abuse. i am not defending Tony’s actions but i do know that he was not a life long Criminal,

  5. Yes that maybe true to some degree but he still had a big heart and for the little bit that I knew him he was sober and things were going good for him. I dont know what really happened to him after awhile because like I said before my fiance and I did have some problems with him but I will always remember him for the heart he had and his very humerous personality.

  6. TNT says Tony was shot in the back. Sounds like same ol’ Tony he’s lucky Stewart’s security guard didn’t have a gun and a misunderstanding of deadly force. I always heard if you shoot someone in the back, you need to flip him over and shoot him in the front too, and if he is outside bring him in. The home owner broke both the normal rules of killing some dude. 🙂

  7. I knew Tony very well. Yes Tony HAD lived a crime filled life but after getting out of prison the last time he seemed to be doing all the right things. He was pursuing an education at TCC and Tony was the bass player for VIII Days Clean for a couple of years. In VIII Days Clean, Tony helped many people turn their lives around and many of them remain sober/drug free today. When the Lakewood Cops were murdered, Tony and his bandmates donated their time to play a big benefit show at the EMP in Seattle for KZOK and The Bob Rivers Show. Tony had become a favorite of Bob & Spike because of his use of the F-Word at a Snoqualmie Casino show.
    Sadly, Tony could not remain drug free himself. That led to some very bad decisions….and as we have found out….fatal decisions.
    Tony had problems like so many addicts and alcoholics who are in active addiction.

    Let’s make it clear…Tony was not there to hurt anyone. He was stealing something to feed his drug habit. I am not condoning the actions of a thief but this should not be a capital offense.

    I think our society is headed for trouble if we allow someone to shoot another person in the back while stealing a lawnmower. What if it was your son?
    Would it be okay then for someone to play God, Judge and Jury?

    • TonyMacsFriend

      Nicely put … I wonder if people will really read the part about how he was a big part of the Fallen Officers benefit and the many other good things that Tony did

  8. Sorry for your loss Jack and those who knew him. I read all the comments. No one knows how Tony was really but Tony. Reading Jack’s article, I believe he said the homeowner was ‘rushed’ and that forced him to shoot. A point to remember is our state has an equal force law. If one has a stone, can defend with a stone, a stick, a stick. However, if the homeowner was trapped with little or no escape, deadly force is authorized. We’ll never know what was going through Tony’s mind when he did what he did. But he will face God and there is karma. All wrongs will be righted. God help him.

  9. Good riddance

    Anyone who thinks breaking into someone’s house and stealing things is excusable because of drugs or for ANY reason has obviously not ever worked hard to buy anything in their life.

    Maybe Tony would not have been shot if he had not broken into someone else’s property intending to commit a crime? The blame lies squarely with him, not the homeowner.

    If you had been the victim of someone* breaking into your house and stealing your shit, you’d be singing an entirely different tune.

    * NOTE: I have edited this comment to take out any personal attacks on fellow commenters. I’m fine with debate, but I draw the line at telling others how they should feel about themselves or name calling. -Jack Cameron

    • Dear Good Riddance…….. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but mine I just try to have with empathy. Not sympathy but empathy. I am a recovering drug addict. I can tell you that when i started I was young and it was for fun. I could have never dreamed it would become what it did. It seemed so innocent at the time. Completely harmless. Before I even knew it, I was fully addicted. The best way I can explain is its like a thinking deficiency. We become addicted before we even realize it. The drugs retrain our brains to only needing the drugs. We finally realize we can’t just stop when we begin to fall back on our morals. By this moment of realization, it seems to late, and the life of drugs is what we will always have. It is sad because most of us don’t want the lifestyle we are living. And the drugs change everything in our brain to believe there is no other way….. the grips of addiction are powerful. So so powerful, but some of us find another way through Narcotics Anonymous. And if we can stay clean we begin to become again who we really are. But that addictive brain deficiency is still there and its always there to try and pull us back out to that life of using. And the crime happens to feed that addiction. It is a fight. But if we stick with recovery we can overcome. It doesn’t mean we are bad. I’ve done it all. I’ve broken the law many times, but today I have been clean for 6 yrs. I pay taxes, bills. I have a union job and have been there for 4 yrs. I have worked hard to stay clean. And having been in the same place as Tony. I have empathy for the disease of addiction. Because I too have it. I knew Tony from recovery. And the clean Tony would never do harm to anyone or anything. Unfortunately, this disease can easily take us back out, which it did him. It is sad. He died as a direct result of the lifestyle of an addict. Another lost who could of stayed clean if only he stayed with recovery. Sometimes life is hard and we easily fall back to using because it has been hard wired that that is the only way. That is a hard thing to break even with years of abstinence. I do not condone crime. I do not support it. All I was simply trying to convey is that being on the other side I understand what addiction does to us when we don’t want to do the things we do, but it is powerful. So I understand why he wa breaking the law and I am just simply sad that he didn’t make it back to recovery. Cause if he was clean I would promises he would have never been in that garage. That is why it is sad. It is truly the addiction that has caused this incident. And the person was simply doing what he believed was no other way. I am only trying to give you an understanding of addictions grip on our thinking. That is all. I hope I made any sense to you.

  10. tony was a good guy in his own way. in my family, he was family. I’VE KNOW HIM FOR 20 YEARS, we all grew up together. our families had the same friends and i dont give a crap what all you people out there are saying about having someone break in your house and “i’ll kill” them. tony did get his life together! he made it in a band! he got married! HE LIVED HIS DREAM!!!!!!!! unfortunatuly life throws us a curve ball that we dodge and later on in life it gets us in the back of the head when we least expect it, when our life is GOOD and we fall. i’ve told tony for years, hey buddy, if you fall, get back up, dust your self off and start over, it’s a one day at a time thing i love you man. He would say the same thing to me or ANYONE ELSE with a glow in his eyes, a smile on his face, and a big hug.

  11. “Anyone who thinks breaking into someone’s house and stealing things is excusable because of drugs or for ANY reason has obviously not ever worked hard to buy anything in their life.” The incident occurred at a detached garage.

    “Maybe Tony would not have been shot if he had not broken into someone else’s property intending to commit a crime? The blame lies squarely with him, not the homeowner.” Once again, not condoning the actions, I don’t care much for thieving behavior either but how much force is too much?

    If you had been the victim of someone* breaking into your house and stealing your shit, you’d be singing an entirely different tune. The incident occurred at a detached garage.

  12. i and my husband albert susee would just like to say this tony wouldnt of harmed the home owner and didnt deserve to loose his life ,the homeownser story just doesnt make sense to where he was shot in the back ,that means dude shot him as tony was proably trying to leave or run not chraging at him cause if that was case than he would of been shot in the front body parts .we all lost a good friend

  13. The only people who know what really went down Monday morning are the home owner, Tony, and the other burglar. In a situation like that, things happen quickly. The facts are that Tony and the other guy were in the detached garage of the homeowner. The homeowner had his wife call 911 before he went out there. The homeowner shot both of them. Tony managed to get in the alley where he was later found dead. The other guy remained at the house where the home owner administered first aid.

    I don’t think the home owner walked out there with the intent to kill anyone. He was likely nervous and afraid. He didn’t know if these two men had weapons themselves. He didn’t know what they were going to do. He made the decision to fire and given the facts, I don’t think it was an entirely unreasonable decision.

    I’d be willing to bet that the homeowner wishes he hadn’t shot anyone that morning and it’s something that will stay with him for the rest of his life. As I said in my original post, I think the entire thing is a tragedy.

  14. “He may have been a criminal, but he wasn’t a bad guy.”

    He was both. If you break in to someone elses home and attempt to steal something that doesn’t belong to you, you get whatever fate awaits you.

  15. TonyMacsFriend

    How come he was charging towards the guy but got shot in the back?

  16. As always John, what a great piece of writing. It is interesting as an educator because learning truly is about changing behaviours. I have a long story to tell you, will do so, but by e-mail.

  17. I will say what I have said before. I just don’t think we are getting the full story from the homeowner. IMO there is no way it played out the way he says. To people that think Tony was nothing but trash, you are mistaken. He was a sweet, caring person, who most definitely was having a hard time lately. Most recently he was upset because May is the month he found his mom dead a year ago.

    Ya know, I would also like to know what the results of a toxicology test were. This situation is NOT like Tony, and please don’t start in with his past record. He was past that. He had a job, he was doing good in his life. He most certainly did not deserve to die, and as I’ve also said before, do you really think that UNARMED men, that can easily flee the scene, are going to run AT the guy with a gun? That’s ridiculous.

  18. I was a friend of Tony’s for 22 yrs. I met him in 1991 and he was dressed still the same way the writer described him (lol) that was Tonys trade mark. I was having a hard time breaking free of a bad relationship, the man was absusive and a drug addict and a thief. I was 18 just turned and just given birth to my first son. I was very stupid in the ways of the world back then and had a very low self-esteem.

    Tony and his friend Tony, seen me once again getting hurt on the sidewalk by 56th street and they ran across and saved me. Tony took me to a friends house where I be safe and sat with me for hours just talking to me. He told me I had self worth and that no one deserved to be hit or be littled. He saved my life that day cause I didn’t know at the time my ex had a gun in the car and was strung out and would of killed me. But tony knew he knew the signs when I didn’t. He taught me how to look for those signs in the future and I use the knowledge to this day. In 22 yrs I never seen Tony hurt anyone. He would try to talk it out if he couldn’t he walked away. He would tell me violence begot violence and hitting never got anyone anywhere but hospital bills.
    My questions to all this is Why? I mean the home owner said his dog woke him up so he grabbed his gun and went outside. Why didn’t he hear the dog if they were breaking into his house? Why in one statement it say the g door was broken into(down) then in the new statement it says it was a jarred. He turned on the light and closed the door and demanded they come out. Why not close the door and block it get back in the house and wait for the police Tony wasn’t going anywhere.
    If they charged him then why was tony found 4 house down dead in the alley with a gun shot wound to the back why not wait with Zane to get help. One statement says Zane was in the garage when he received medical help by home owner in another statement he was out side the Garage. They were unarmed and a lot doesnt make sense to me. Do I feel TONY WAS A SAINT, IN SOME WAYS YES. DO I THINK HE WAS IN THE RIGHT FOR DOING WHAT HE DID NO.
    I just think there is to many holes in this story and things could of gone down differently and why this man’s house? It was stated he was hit 3 other times what made this house so important.
    To the writer of the article you wanted to know what happened to Tony in the 20yrs you hadn’t seen him, here it is he grew up to be a great man and friend to thousands he helped many and for a while was clean for 10yrs he married and children got a good paying job and went back to school to better his life. He always put others before himself. Then his world came crashing down last year around Mothers Day. He lost his wife and kids, his job, his band and he found his mother dead. And his demons took back over and no matter how hard we all tried to help it was no good.

    I have been robbed, and my home broken into so I know how it feels. And I don’t blame anyone just want to know the truth for some peace of mind is all.

  19. Well put whitewolf. There are too many holes in the owners story and he keeps changing it! Now to me that sounds like LYING and how can anyone believe anything the owner says now at all. As far as I am concerned he committed a “Vigalante Act” period to the letter of the law. He shot a man in the back that is not self defense. If Tony was running away then he did not attack the home owner and he did NOT deserve to die for this incident. He did although deserve to do time for it PERIOD. NOT DIE! The homeowner was in the wrong I believe cause he left the safety of his home and put himself in harms way with the intent of using his gun. If he did not intend to use his gun then he wouldn’t have grabbed it as well as he would not have gone out of his house and into the garage. Should have stayed in his house and let the police handle the situation and there would not have been any so called life threatening situation. I absolutely agree Tony was in the wrong for doing what he did. I have had my home broken into and when that happened my brother was home. The intruders took an axe to my home and hit my brother in the head with blunt instrument. He blocked it and it crushed his finger causing him to lose that finger. This incident was way more cut and dry it did not leave any room for speculation. I knew Tony and his family for 25 years. I saw him go from troubled kid to married man with kids leading a clean and sober life. He was absolutely a kind hearted individual and very unique. Unfortunately he did not recover form the loss of his mom and finding her dead as well as the loss of his wife and kids and position in the band. He took it all very hard and turned back to drugs. I can honestly say that I knew Tony well enough that if he had a gun stuck in his face HIGH OR NOT he would have froze and pissed himself. Or he would have pissed himself and ran away. Tony was a smack talker nothing more when it came to acts of violence. He was not the type to actually harm or fight anyone. I tried to help him out this last year on a couple different occasions but he was too far gone in depression. Well he made a wrong choice and now he is dead for it. I will miss Tony deeply and will remember him always. R.I.P Tony.

  20. I knew Tony very well, he was a good friend. It irritates me how people can be so judgemental about other people. As a recovering drug addict for 10 years now and having a very serious felony at the age of 14, one that follows me even to this day(not drug related, but did account for my drug use to escape what happened) I feel I should express a tattoo that I have on my arm about people judging other people. My tattoo is from the bible it is from the book of Matthew. “7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 7:2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you!” Tony might not have always made the right choices in life, but then again how many of us ever do? I am still branded as a criminal, a felon, an addict, or whatever people decide to say about me. The point of the matter is simple unless you knew Tony you cannot say anything about him. Not everyone continues to live a life of crime, or alcohol/drug use. A lot of people have gotten over their addictions, or criminal behavior. Tony helped many people from relapsing into drug use and yes he couldn’t help himself, but he was still a great friend and is now doesn’t have to suffer with his addiction. I feel people should put themselves in other peoples shoes and think “How would I feel if someone looked down on me?” People are hurting whether it is from drug use, alcohol abuse, criminal past, even homelessness. People can change, it is up to society to realize that people have made mistakes and allow us to move on with our lives instead of reminding us that we screwed up once and holding us back!

  21. Bettie Rhoades

    I have known Tony, since middle school as well and I have seen him several times over the years and recently before he died. He was not at all the type of person to hurt anyone or anything.. To his friends and family he was a comidian, musician, smart and full of life and yes he did answer too his own rules. Tony’s rules. But thats just a few things we loved about him. Kids adored him and he liked to spell his name Toee Knee. Tony was the type of guy who always did everything in his power to make you laugh! If you were sick the first one to tell you to get your ass to a doctor, or he would try to take care of you himself. He was a true friend and he will be greatly missed. He was going through a hard time like we all do once in a while and he finally made a bad decision that cost him his life… We all have made bad desicion. But that doesn’t mean he deserved to die. I undersatnd what the homeowner did! But he too; could have made a better desicion, like waiting for the police to get there istead of trying to act like a hero. I would rather see my friend behind bars then not being able to see him at all.. The home owner was lucky it was Tony, breaking into his garage and not some trigger happy lunatic! Beacause it could have been the other way around with the home owner getting shot instead… That’s why we have 911 people to be used in situations like this.. so you don’t have to go outside. let the police do there job if your going to call them. RIP TONY MCDOUGALD, I love you and miss you with all my heart.. Love you Bettie

  22. Tony was shot in the back………..

  23. I met Tony in middle school also. He was my best friends first love… I’ll always remember his cute dimples and Tonys way of thinking.. He did play by his own rules. I have also been to the bottom less pit of addiction to the high points of recovery and back again, several times. Its NOT a choice!! None of us chooses to be a drug addict. Our lives just seem to be thrown in that direction sometimes. And if we are too comfortable or running our own program, we relapse. I will miss Tony in my own way.

  24. Im not going to get into the hype of wether Tony was good or bad or this or that. it just seems pointless to sit on here and argue about something that is completely out of our hands to judge. I have only known Tony for 7 months, but those were the last 7 months of his life and we had gotten as close as friends could possibly get. Tony and I were planning on sighning “marriage” papers the day he died, but 1 week prior I had broke things off with him for reasons that will remain between the 2 of us. anyway….with out going into all the arguing nonsense that seems to lead no where but back and forth bickering with no ones point really reaching the other side…..I WOULD JUST LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU JACK, SO MUCH FOR YOUR BLOG. IT CLEARLY MAKES THE POINT…THE POINT BEING EVERYONE IN THIS SAD STORY MESSED UP SOMEWHERE AND THIS REALLY IS JUST A SAD SAD TRADGEDY.

  25. laurie bishop

    I have a long story of why Tony turned out how he did. We dated back when we were just kids at the age of 15. Even back then, he had some very bad skeletons his his life. He told me many things, of why he was screwed up mentally, etc. His mom was his whole world and for good reason, she was the only one he could trust. He reached out to me thru the years and I didn’t want to see him when he was high. But we did talk bits n pieces here and there. All this crap aside he would have given his life to save anothers. He was intelligent, funny and charming when he wanted to be. He was very adament against guns because of a incidence that happened at my house. R.I.P. Tony Lynn. I will always have a special place in my heart for him.
    E-mail if you would like me to give you the long story. It could add to your writings.
    -laurie

  26. laurie bishop

    Things aren’t always as they seem…

  27. Charity Miller

    I also went to school with Tony. He was defiantly one of a kind. My most vivid memory of him was back in middle school when hugs were given instead of handshakes or high-fives. It broke my heart to hear the news of his death. He simply was at the wrong place at the wrong time that resulted in this tragedy… Rest in peace Tony ❤ You are loved and missed by so many. Til we meet again.

  28. Dana (McDougald) Scheidt

    When we met,The Warrior was what Tony called himself,and I fell in love with that romantic side that was expressed in very talented writings of love and hope…. passionate in his Indian culture and attending sweats he started his day with chocolate milk…even acting all goofey and silly as he prepared it, child like and big eyed and grinning saying I could not have any of his chocolate milk but if told him I love him would share it every time and could start to make it together…meeting me was what he explained as the vision in his mind as the princess he saw and wanted his whole life. He asked me to go and take some months out for self and come back to talk when I was sure I knew he loved me and would for all my life…I came back for that talk today and his death is what I came back to find…Is this worth for a lawn mower being attempted to steal by him to lay cold and dead in an alley? Let me answer since your searching for one out there…”What do you feel as you read about my time to know this man that made this princess long and believe in him and us to love life long..life long burglar huh…well life long love was what he should of had and his chance at happiness not this tragic end that feels like a death so undeserving of a man I knew gentle…Thank God the mom he loved so did not live to have to live with this because today is not real to me nor the lack of one to deserve life lost at such a young age still having years ahead for it to even have titled life long…life short and chances cut short…judgement fell harder then any should,for its payment to be death! Maybe mow those lawns Tony for a year…bet a million he would a put his head down with a pout and a small smile to say” I know I am bad boy and that he deserved that…but death? Okay now lets see what youi have tio say

  29. I’m a little surprised by all of this.

    Everyone has a life story. Everyone has good and bad. Depending on how dramatically you go out is how all the other stuff will be judged. It doesn’t matter if your best friend stands on a soap box with an encyclopedia full of your good deeds, if you massacred three people, most people won’t give a crap. To the world, you’re a murdering bastard.

    People who commit crimes, regardless of the reasons, are taking their lives into their own hands. Whether they expect to be shot, beaten, maimed, killed or get away scot free is irrelevant. When a law abiding citizen works hard for what they have, they will likely protect it. I don’t think anyone should be expected to allow a criminal to escape justice with their earnings, dignity or possessions.

    Maybe Tony would’ve kicked his habits and gone straight. Maybe he would’ve gone on to do a lot more good if he had escaped his fate this time. The thing about people’s lives being cut short is that you can suggest anything because none of it will happen now.

    I think the real tragedy in this and every other case of crime is how much people focus on the tragedy of losing the criminal. One of America’s biggest problems is how sympathetic we are to those living outside of the law. Victims of crime are practically expected to suck it up. Ask a rape victim how they feel about the justice their attacker received when he gets out of prison after a short stint. Or how a murder victim’s family feels about their taxes going to pay to keep the killer in prison.

    I’m glad that the homeowner won’t be charged and while I feel for people that will miss their friend, I for one prefer to side with the victims of crime than worry too much about what happens to those that commit it. I say that if you want to head out there to steal, murder, rape or otherwise deprive people who are just going about their business, then come what may, I hope you get yours.

    Times are tough but the minute we excuse people from using that as an excuse to hurt others, is the minute we might as well toss the laws out and embrace anarchy because at that point, the only people that laws hurt are the people who are following them. That is a greater tragedy than the loss of this or any other criminal.

  30. Thanks for your comment. It’s well thought out and for the most part I agree with you. Spend any length of time on my site and you’ll find that when it comes to crime, I focus on the victims almost exclusively. I rarely even mention the criminal’s name.

    However, I focus on ALL homicides that take place in the city of Tacoma. That includes people who were killed during the commission of a crime. While I agree that any criminal is taking their life into their own hands, I do not think that negates their humanity.

    I don’t think anything I’ve written about Tony or any other criminal could be construed as excusing criminal behavior. Far from it. I also don’t think that talking about the humanity of a criminal leads us to anarchy. I think Tony’s life and death in particular are a cautionary tale.

    On a final note, I really don’t think there’s a hell of a lot of website or other media focusing on Tony’s death in particular at all. And the coverage I’ve seen hasn’t been sympathetic towards him. I’m not condoning what he did and I don’t know that he’d ever have kicked his bad habits or not. What matters is what he did. Everything he did. Not just his final actions.

  31. Everyone likes to say they know Anthony “Tony” McDougald but his family and close friends know him the best. He was by far the smartest guy I know. He would teach my brother sister and I so many things. We all miss our uncle everyday, but to this day he still finds ways to teach us new things and keep us laughing our butts off like he did everytime we spent time with him.

  32. I was gonna marry him. Now i sleep with his picture. He was murdered in my eyes. who calls 911 becasue a dog barked? sounds pretty suspisious to me. Dogs bark all the time. we dont run outside with guns ready to be fired, and then shoot someone in the BACK (not a self defence shot) that is a cold blooded murder shot. thanks for ripping my soul mate away from me and damaging me for the rest of my life as well.

    • I feel it was murder too. He was totally set up. The story does not fit. Medical supplies? Maybe that is when they went and got and place things on his person?? I wish people would step forward, any little piece would help. Someone knows he was set up.

  33. Everyone is focusing on “he was there committing a crime”. That’s where its all wrong. Because there was evidence that there was a break in does not mean he did it or was a part of it. The guy even said that there were prior attempts in the earlier weeks or days to Tony being there. Did he call the cops and report. Why is all the evidence being looped into one night and this one break in? He was lured there probably as a favor to someone. He only had one person and goal in his mind besides his mother and that was for his wife and possible child on the way. Someone didn’t like that. I know my thoughts don’t hold any weight, but I know they are not far fetched either.

  34. I met Tony in the late 80’s…..even went out and got into trouble with the guy myself…even wound up in jail as a result too (my own fault mind you) and I can tell you that you all are right, Tony was a great person, with a big heart and a loyal streak that ran bone deep, he was smart…damn smart and could leave people rolling on the ground in laughter, I suspect if he’d kept his life straight he’d have made a great father and mentor……it’s funny, the author mentions Stewart JR High, Tony, myself and a couple others used to climb all over that building as rambunctious teens…however, as much as I loved him as a brother, he did have impulse control problems, and some rules you should break, others you should not and Tony always had a problem remembering which ones were which……I got lucky, I got out of Tacoma, joined the Army, and found a useful outlet for that sort of energy.

    Here it is a year and a half later, and I still mourn the loss of my little buddy, the world is a sadder place without him. To be perfectly honest, I don’t blame the homeowner who shot Tony though, I blame Tony. Some of you claim Tony was gentle, and you are right to a point, but Tony was always a “big talker” and very often tried to bluff his way out of a tight spot, I witnessed it myself first hand on several occasions. The homeowners claim that Tony rushed him is totally plausible to me, it’d be classic Tony rope-a-dope, talk tough, take an aggressive step, when the other party reels Tony bolts….like I said, I’ve seen Tony do it many times….sadly, his bluff was called

    Tony was an awesome person there is no doubt, but he had a lot of problems to sort out, however it does not excuse robbing houses. No matter the circumstances of Tony s life at the time, he was an adult who make a poor choice.

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