Jake Red was twenty-eight years old. He was born in New Orleans, the oldest of four children. He was funny and outgoing. People tended to like Jake Red when they met him. On August 12th he was hanging out with friends when one of them accused him of sleeping with that friend’s children’s mother. He hadn’t and said so. The conversation then drifted to other topics. Later in the day, at around 5pm, the friend pulled up alongside a vehicle Jake was riding in. He asked Jake why he wasn’t answering his cellphone. The two vehicles pulled into a parking lot on South 64th and Yakima so the three men could talk. The friend again accused Jake of being involved with that man’s children’s mother. Jake again denied it. The friend then retrieved a handgun and said, “I think you’re playing me.” And then he started shooting.
The man in the SUV with Jake returned fire with his own gun as the friend fled. The man then began to drive to get Jake help. Police arrived moments later, but by that time Jake had died from gunshot wounds to his neck, back, and stomach. Jake is the twenty-first Tacoma homicide this year.
Jake’s killer was found a few hours later hiding under a vehicle where he shot a police dog before being shot himself by police sustaining non-life-threatening injuries.
The resulting media coverage of Jake’s murder and its aftermath focused more on Ranja the police dog than Jake Red. And while I’m sure there’s a real loss within the police department in Ranja’s death, there is no comparison to be made to the depth of loss of Jake Red. Jake had a family, friends, and loved ones. He loved children though he never had a chance to have any himself.
The comments section is reserved for friends and family of Jake Red to share thoughts and memories of him. He is not forgotten.
- Jack Cameron