Fourth Tacoma Homicide of 2015: Stephen Cunningham


Sunday night Tacoma Police were called to a house in the 3400 block of South Proctor Street that they were familiar with. There was a noise complaint. It was just after 10pm.

Earlier in the day 48-year-old Stephen Cunningham was in an altercation with a man. The man left. When the police knocked on Stephen’s door his mother says he thought that the man had returned. Stephen answered the door with a gun in his hand. The details of the confrontation have not been released and so it’s unclear what happened next. But the encounter ended when a 34-year-old six-year veteran of the Tacoma Police Department shot and killed Stephen Cunningham. This is the first homicide involving the Tacoma Police Department in over a year.

Interviewed by KIRO 7, Stephen’s mother said that she did not blame the police for their actions and understands that had Stephen not been armed, the situation would have turned out differently.

Stephen had a concealed carry permit. The gun he carried was legal. It’s reasonable that a gun owner might answer his door with a gun in his hand if he expected trouble. Unfortunately, without the information of what happened during his encounter with the police, it’d pointless to speculate on whether or not the shooting is justified.

Regardless of the justification for the death of Stephen Cunningham, a mother lost her son on Mother’s Day. Friends and relatives lost someone they cared for. And another life is gone from the city of Tacoma.

As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim who might want to share thoughts or memories of Stephen. All comments are approved by me before they appear on the page.

If anyone has a photo they’d like me to use of Stephen, please send it to

– Jack Cameron

6 responses to “Fourth Tacoma Homicide of 2015: Stephen Cunningham

  1. Sylvie pelesasa

    So sad to hear of Steve’s death. I worked with him for several years and he was always working and fighting for the rights of coworkers and himself. Plain and simple he was a guy with a heart.

  2. RIP Steve! You were a very nice person and you will be missed. You were always a very respectful and caring friend. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  3. From what I could gather, Steve was an awesome guy. He took care of chambers creek and was always open and kind with all of us that frequented the area. This is a sad story, if there is anything being organized to show support for Stephen please let us know!

  4. Sending prayers to his wife and family.

  5. I did not know Steve long but I remember him being very patient and kind with me during training. I got the immediate impression that he was really a good human being. Go with God Steve.

  6. I just found out about Steve’s passing and I’m in shock. Steve will never be forgotten by those that knew him. The creek won’t be the same with out his presence and hard work to keep it clean. I wish a memorial plaque could be put at the creek for him. What a sad day that such a great man is gone.

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