32-year-old Dustin Kopp lived under the Highway 16 overpass by Cedar Street with other homeless individuals. On Tuesday October 18th, a man asked him to watch his stuff while he was gone. When the man returned his stuff was gone. Dustin told him who the thief was. Later the alleged thief confronted Dustin. He hit Dustin with a baseball bat and shot him with a BB gun. The BB managed to pierce his heart. Dustin was dead within minutes. The hole from the BB was so small that it wasn’t until the medical examiner found it that the authorities realized it was a homicide. Police quickly located and arrested the shooter who confessed to the killing.
Dustin Kopp is Tacoma’s thirteenth homicide this year. If it were not for the unusual manner of death, it’s likely that this particular homicide would not have even been reported in mainstream media. Indeed, a recent article about the increase in violence in Tacoma in the last few weeks did not even mention this one.
I could not find much online about Dustin, but I know from experience that there are those who knew him and cared about him. From time to time I will receive emails from old friends of homeless individuals who were killed. They will say that my article is the only thing they could find on the individual.
That is one of the reasons I started writing about homicides in the first place. I wanted to at least share what happened to the people taken from our city. I don’t have the time or resources to write their full life story, but I think the least I can do is write how it ended.
As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew the victim. Also, if anyone has a photo they would like to share of Dustin, please email me at email@example.com.
Terry Northcutt at his daughter’s wedding.
Voravangso ‘Two’ Phanmana
Typically when a homicide happens in Tacoma I wait for the name of the victim to be released and for the authorities and other media outlets to report what happened. Sometimes I am unable to do that because the only people who know what happened are dead or murderers.
Around 1:00am on Friday, October 14th neighbors reported hearing multiple gunshots in the 3600 block of Portland Avenue East. They found 61-year-old Terry Northcutt and 45-year-old Voravangso ‘Two’ Phanmana dead of gunshot wounds in the yard of a house where Voravangso lived. Terry occasionally stayed there as well. Terry and Voravangso are the eleventh and twelfth Tacoma homicides this year. Neither man had a significant criminal history. More than a week after the shooting the possible motive as well as the person or people responsible is unknown.
Voravangso had a mother and an 11-year-old daughter. Terry had a daughter who got married a couple of years ago.
The loss felt by the family and friends of these men is only increased by the mystery of their demise. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible. If you have any information about anything that happened in that area on the night of October 13th or the early morning hours of October 14th contact Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
If you would like to share thoughts or memories of Terry or Voravangso, you can leave a comment on this post. Every comment is moderated. Any inappropriate comments will be deleted.
– Jack Cameron
On October 7th, Friday evening around 6:45pm the dinner rush was going strong at Tacoma’s legendary Frisko Freeze. 26-year-old Terry Webb approached two men sitting in a car in the parking lot. He produced a gun and attempted to rob the two men. He was unsuccessful. One of the two men in the care was also armed. The man in the car shot Terry. A friend of his drove him to the hospital where he later died from his gunshot wound.
This is the tenth Tacoma homicide this year. No charges are expected to be filed. I have been chronicling homicides in Tacoma for ten years now. In all that time, I have never seen charges filed in a situation where someone is protecting themselves, or their property. Robbery and burglary may not be death penalty level crimes, but if your intended victim is armed and kills you, if you’re in Tacoma, your killer will not likely be charged with a crime.
From a certain standpoint, this makes perfect sense. People should be allowed to protect and defend themselves. That is understandable. However, there is another aspect to this. The person who was Terry Webb cannot be summed up in his last actions. Like all of us, he had friends. He had family. He may have made bad decisions, but who among us has not? I am not trying to make Terry out to be someone better or worse than he was. I did not know him and can only share what I found from what little research I could find and how I feel about people in general.
I also know from talking to others who have been in similar situations that shooting another person is no simple thing. There is suffering that goes with taking a life. I understand that and do my best not to vilify what had to have been a difficult choice. But a killer’s life goes on. I choose not to focus on that in these posts because I prefer to focus on the victim who has no more stories to tell.
If you happen to be a friend or family member of Terry Webb and have a photo you would like me to use for this post, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, the comments section is moderated by me and reserved for those who knew Terry and might want to share memories or thoughts about him.
– Jack Cameron