Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tenth Tacoma Homicide of 2013 Derek Wagner

darekwagnerLast Sunday afternoon near the 4500 block of Asotin Street a man went into his back yard and found the dead body of 27-year-old Derek Wagner. He’d been repeatedly stabbed. Derek was from Kalama, Washington. At this time there is no further information about what Derek was doing in Tacoma, who he may of been with, or how he ended up in a South Tacoma back yard.

Police are asking anyone with information about this case to contact them at 253-798-4721.

As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family who might want to share their thoughts about Darek.

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday with Tacoma Police Department Public Information Officer Loretta Cool

tacoma-police-genericWhen I read about police spokespeople online or see them on television I always feel a little bad. It seems like they never sleep and are always talking to the press on a near endless schedule. They all seem to need a vacation. I’m sure Loretta Cool, the Public Information Officer of the Tacoma Police Department is the same way, but I couldn’t tell. Despite a workload I don’t even want to think about, she took the time to talk to me and participate in 5 Question Friday.

Given recent events in Tacoma, I felt it would be good to get to Tacoma to the TPD. I also wanted a bit of a historical perspective on the crime in Tacoma. I’ve probably introduced her enough. Here’s Loretta.

1. What is the most misunderstood part about Police Work?

I think there are many misunderstood areas of Police work. Lately, an issue that seems to keep popping up is about Police being able to arrest someone based on an identification by a victim or witness. Everyone seems to think if a victim points out someone they believe committed a crime, the Police can arrest them.  On the surface I guess that would be wonderful, as long as you were not the one wrongly pointed out. Police have to be able to link a suspect to a crime through many avenues, the identification is just one part. Police can have a victim swear up and down that this particular person committed the crime. Police then discover that the “identified person” was nowhere near the crime.  It seems I spend a lot of time explaining that identification of a possible suspect may not culminate in an arrest. If Police are able to tie the suspect to the crime, the identification helps tremendously.

2. Recently two people have been shot and others have been attacked on South 19th in Tacoma’s Hilltop area reminding long time residents of the early 1990s when Hilltop was genuinely dangerousWhat do you feel the police can do to help keep Hilltop safe?

I do appreciate the wording here about the Hilltop being genuinely dangerous. In the early 90’s Police responded to multiple gunshots being fired per shift and many people being robbed, shot or killed. Tacoma has come a long way since that time. Two incidents in near proximity to each other do not make the Hilltop like it was back then. The crime was not just limited to the Hilltop, we had rampant crime throughout the city. The Police took proactive measures to make the City a much safer place. With these two incidents and any others, the Police will continue to actively seek out those responsible and hopefully be able to arrest and convict them.

The things that we have been doing since that time. Being out in the community, getting to know the people who live, work and play here. Actively Patrolling so that the Police presence is felt and citizens feel good about going to Police for help.  Continue using all available resources and tools to apprehend the persons responsible for committing the crimes. And develop more connections to leverage what we have.

3. What do you feel the general public can do to help keep Hilltop safe?

Be out and about. The more good people are visible the bad people tend to go away.  Report the suspicious activity, gatherings and crimes when they occur. A lot of Police work is still reactionary, if nothing is reported, it is like nothing is happening. When things are reported the Police are aware of those areas that need the high visibility of Police.

4. What changes have you seen in Tacoma in the time you’ve been here?

I have already touched on a few of these. What amazes me is the cleanup of many areas.  On Pacific Ave from 7th to 25th Street there used to be something like 40 bars. Now there are businesses that promote growth, not to mention the UW. The same was true on MLK there used to be about 25 Bars between 6th Ave and 25th Street. Now there are businesses that attract more family activities. Even the expansion of St. Joseph’s hospital, Tacoma General and Mary Bridge. On the eastside of Tacoma, the Boys and Girls club, skate park, pool and a welcoming avenue with street improvements, instead of decrepit apartments and bars lining the streets. These are just a few changes that I think are for the better.  There are still improvements to be made all across the City but I think in the last 30 or so years the City of Tacoma has come a long way.

 

5. It’s lunch time. With the whole city available, where do you get a good bite to eat?

This one is not as easy as it sounds. I work with a group of about 15 people. We try to go to lunch somewhere every couple of months. One person will pick their favorite place to go. I have been out with them about 5 times so far, each time a different new spot for me. And each time it has been a great place to go. So, what I would offer here is Google Tacoma Restaurants and pick the type of food you like, my guess is the place will be a great place to eat since so far I like them all.

 

I’d like to thank Loretta Cool for joining me on 5 Question Friday. If you or someone you know would like to join me in a future installment, drop me a line at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

–          Jack Cameron

Ninth Tacoma Homicide of 2013 Santiago Sanchez Cortes

sanchez-cortesSantiago Sanchez Cortes’ employer was concerned. He had not called or shown up for work for several days. Before this, Santiago was known as a good worker who never missed a day. His employer reported him missing to the police. The last time anyone had seen the 59-year-old man was October 1st.

Police investigated his disappearance and found the last person who Santiago had talked to on the phone. Further investigation revealed that the woman had gambling debts, had used Santiago’s debit card and sold his truck. Soon they had witnesses who had heard her admit to killing Santiago. She had since been arrested along with an accomplice.

Unfortunately, there’s very little information right now as to what happened to Santiago. His body has yet to be recovered. He is the ninth Tacoma homicide this year.

As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim who want to post remembrances of their lost loved one.

–          Jack Cameron

Help Victims of a Senseless Attack

justinwinter

This past Tuesday tattoo artist Justin Winter, Mishele Dupree, and a friend were  walking on South 19th and Martin Luther King Way. They were approached by a group of young people. There were at least 15 of them. Justin had refused to give one of them a cigarette a few nights before.

The girls with Justin managed to escape with bruises. Justin was not so lucky. He was knocked to the ground and repeatedly stomped in the face and hands and left with a jaw broken in multiple places and numerous other injuries. He’s finally being released from the hospital today.

The attack occurred on a busy street. The nearest police station was only two blocks away. While the Hilltop neighborhood is notorious for crime from the gang violence of the early 1990s, Hilltop has changed dramatically since then. And violent attacks such as this are rare.

This crime is eerily reminiscent of the 2000 beating death of Eric Toews. In that case, it was one of a series of attacks by the same group of teenagers. I’ve spoken with the Tacoma Police Department and have been told that similar attacks have not occurred lately.

As one might expect, the injuries Justin has sustained are resulting in substantial financial hardships. There is a fundraising page set up for Justin at the link below. If you have the means, please donate what you can.
https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/6dUe5

– Jack Cameron

5 Question Friday With Stephanie Anne Johnson From The Voice!

stephanieannejohnson

Welcome To 5 Question Friday. On Fridays I ask five questions of a Tacoma local. This week’s participant is Stephanie Anne Johnson. If you’re a frequent viewer of The Voice on NBC her name might sound familiar.

I’ve known Stephanie for many, many years. In addition to being enormously talented, she’s also just an awesome person. I consider her a good friend who I rarely see. Now that she’s on national television, I expect that’s going to be even truer. But she was nice enough to take time out to answer five questions for the return of 5 Question Friday. Here’s Stephanie:

1. What made you decide to go on The Voice?

I chose The Voice because I was very attracted to the concept of not being judged on outside appearance. I like to think that the best parts of me aren’t parts you can see with the naked eye.

2. What has been the most surprising thing about this experience so far?

For some reason I expected this process to be easier because I’ve had years of training and experience. I thought that might give me an edge over other contestants but none of that really seems to matters. It all comes down to how you sound on that particular song on that particular day.

3. What’s something you haven’t done yet with your music career that you’d like to do?

Please, I’m an animal. I want to do everything. I want Broadway. I want the West End. I want to travel land and sea playing songs I wrote. I want Grammy’s. I want to play college campuses, concert halls and your living room. I’m rather zealous about performing if you couldn’t tell. But basically I just want to travel and sing and continue to pay my bills with the fruits of my rocking.

4. Who are some of your other favorite local acts?

Ummm, well, I really like Steve Stefanowicz. His fingers are positively educated, great guitar and mandolin player! He played lead on my last record. Bill Leach out in that Auburn area, guitar player, gear head, brilliant producer/engineer. Zach Fleury is awesome, he was the lead percussionist on my 2nd record. I hear good things about Ben Union. Ethan Tucker and his band are awesome. Allen Stone I love. The Head and the Heart. Kim Archer knows her stuff really well. She’s mentoring this group called the Whoppie Cats, nice girls, great vocals, great slide guitar. Billy Shew, Junkyard Jane, Bennet Pullen, Eric Robert, Raphel Tranquilino, Mighty High, Kareem Kandi, Gina Belleveau, James Coats, Kurt Lindsey not to mention Vicci Martinez, Emily Randolph or Austin Jencks. And don’t think I couldn’t go on. Basically there’s a lot of good live music in your house. Get out of your house right now and find some good music. Go, go right now!

5. What are your plans after The Voice?

I want to put a small three or four piece together and I want to travel within the US playing small house concerts. I like the connection I can make with people I might not otherwise meet if not for the music. I like an audience I can touch and feel and listen to. However, keeping my earlier comments in mind, this is only the beginning.

I wish Stephanie the best of luck on The Voice and her future endeavors and would like to publicly thank her for taking the time to join me on 5 Question Friday.

If you know someone who you would like to join me on 5 Question Friday, let me know at jackcameronis@gmail.com

–          Jack Cameron