Category Archives: Tacoma Crime

12th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: David Eugene Johnson

In the first hours of Saturday, June 6th, police received calls of shots fired in a parking lot in the 5500 block of South Washington Street. There was a small crowd of people there when they arrived. Twenty-eight year old David Eugene Johnson was in the crowd. He’d been shot. He died shortly after they arrived becoming the twelfth Tacoma homicide of 2020.

Though the crime was months ago, I was able to find very little about the events or aftermath of this homicide. It was also difficult to get much of any information about David as his name is about as common as my own.

Just a couple of years ago twelve homicides would have been our total for the year. Now we reach that in half the time. As of this writing, David’s murder remains unsolved and the details of his death remain sketchy.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew David and who want to share thoughts or memories of him. If you have a photo of David Eugene Johnson that you’d like me to include with this article, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

10th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Kelsea Michelle Carlson

 On April 3rd 28-year-old Kelsea Michelle Carlson logged onto her incarcerated father’s social media account looking for a buyer for the half pound of methamphetamine she was looking to sell. After finding a seller, shortly before midnight, three men showed up to the apartment she shared with her 33-year-old fiancé in the 1400 block of South Union Ave. One of the men said that something wasn’t right about the deal and pulled a pistol. He shot Kelsea multiple times and shot her fiancé twice in the leg. The three men then left. One left behind his cellphone. Kelsea’s fiancé called 9-1-1 and told them to hurry. By the time first responders arrived, Kelsea had died from her wounds. Her fiancé survived, but had to have surgery on his leg.

Kelsea is the tenth Tacoma homicide this year and the second drug related murder in a week. There is a certain portion of the population who do not care about drug related murders. It’s easy to be callous right up until the point where you realize that every homicide victim has friends and family who will never be the same thanks to their loved one being stolen from them. In Kelsea’s case, she has a young daughter who is now going to grow up never knowing her mother. The thing people tend to forget about homicides is that the person who was murdered is only one of many victims of the crime.

Kelsea’s family has set up a GoFundMe campaign to pay for her funeral expenses.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Kelsea and want to share any thoughts or memories of her.

  • Jack

9th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Dante Robinson

It was near 11pm on March 31st when 28-year-old Dante Robinson was shot to death in an apartment in the 1800 block of South 15th Street. He sustained one gunshot wound. Officers arrived and performed CPR, but Dante died on the scene. Despite my writing this nearly six month later, this is literally all the information I’ve been able to find about Dante Robinson’s death.

Dante Robinson is the ninth Tacoma homicide this year and the sixth Tacoma homicide in the month of March. Just a few years ago six homicides would have been half a year’s worth of homicides in Tacoma.

Dante was born in Kissimmee, Florida and joined the Army directly after high school and was deployed to Afghanistan for six months. After that he served out the next two and a half years at JBLM, near Tacoma. He was the father of a daughter and a son. Dante was known for being a quiet and gentle presence. He was a practicing Christian and active in his church and had a very loving family.

The comments section is moderated by me and reserved for friends and family of Dante who would like to share thoughts or memories of him.

  • Jack

8th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Deon McGhee

On the evening of March 25th, 21-year-old Deon McGhee told a 28-year-old acquaintance he had met that day through a friend that he could get him some Xanax for $300. The man agreed and got into a car with Deon driving and Deon’s uncle in the backseat. The man transferred $300 electronically to Deon, but Deon didn’t see it in his account and asked the man to do it again. The man did this a total of three times, transferring a total of $900 to Deon’s account. The man then stabbed Deon in the neck. The car crashed in the 1000 block of North Villard Street. Upon impact the three men ran in three different directions. Deon stumbled to a nearby porch and sat. Police arrived and tried CPR. Paramedics showed up, but Deon died before he arrived at the hospital becoming the eighth Tacoma homicide this year.

Deon’s alleged killer was arrested and charged with first degree murder shortly after.

I was unable to find much information on Deon McGhee beyond his activities on the final day of his life. At 21-years of age he was too young for anyone to know what sort of person he might have ended up becoming. What we know is that Tacoma has lost another young resident to homicidal violence. I know there are those who will just dismiss this as another drug deal gone wrong and ignore the tragedy of the loss of life, but personally I subscribe to the theory that everyone is more than their worst actions. And having written about Tacoma homicides of all sorts of individuals over the year, I can say with certainty that every single person has someone who loves them and someone who will never be the same if that person is taken from them.

As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of Deon McGhee who might want to share thoughts or memories of him. And if you have a photo of him you’d like to share, please email it to me at jackcameornis@gmail.com.

  • Jack

7th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Raymond Martine Serrano

On Wednesday, March 18th, at 11:24pm in the 300 block of East 26th Street a car with three people in it approached 36-year-old Raymond Martine Serrano. Someone in the car opened fire and the car drove off. Raymond fell in the middle of the street. Paramedics arrived shortly after and performed CPR, but they were unable to save his life. Raymond Serrano is the fourth Tacoma homicide in a month and the seventh Tacoma homicide this year.

Raymond was known to the police as a registered sex offender with a child molestation conviction and a habit of going on the run from the law. He was wanted at the time of his death in fact.

The three individuals in the car were arrested shortly after the incident.

Here are TacomaStories, I always try to focus on the victim and put them in the best possible light. They’ve lost their lives. Whatever they’ve done, they’ve paid for it. And no matter who someone is, they have people who cared for them and loved them.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find much about Raymond beyond his trouble with the law. Anyone who knew him and wants to share thoughts or memories, please know that the comments section is moderated and reserved exclusively for that.

  • Jack

6th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Jermaine Campbell

In the early morning hours of March 12th, 36-year-old Jermaine Campbell and a 24-year-old friend were with a woman who tried to grab the 24-year-old’s gun. While she was unable to get the gun, she was able to get his car keys and drove off in his Volkswagen Jetta. Jermaine and the man got into Jermaine’s Ford Explorer and gave chase. They caught up to her around 1:30am near the 3800 block of South Lawrence. The man opened fire on the car, but Jermaine’s Explorer bumped him while he was still firing. One of the bullets hit Jermaine in the chest. Jermaine then drove two blocks and crashed into a parked semitruck.

A security guard called the police after hearing the shots. They found the Jetta but there was no one inside. They also found a gun inside the car, but the car was locked. An hour and a half later they were called to the scene of the accident and found Jermaine Campbell dead from his gunshot wound.

Police later caught up with the man who shoe Jermaine and arrested him. This is Tacoma’s sixth homicide this year and the third in one week.

I wasn’t able to find much about Jermaine’s life or even a photo of him online. As always the comment section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Jermaine and want to share thoughts or memories of him. If you’d like to send me a photo I can add to this post, email me at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

  • Jack

5th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Ozelle Tyrece Tate

On the afternoon of March 11th, Ozelle Tyrece Tate left the County City Building where he had appeared in Pierce County Superior Court on a charge of first-degree theft. After leaving the courthouse he walked to his car in the 1500 block of South G Street. Another man approached in another car and asked if he could talk to Ozelle. Ozelle noticed agreed to talk to him but noticed the man was armed. The conversation turned into an argument. A woman found a nearby police officer and told him that there was a fight. Before the officer could get there, a shot was fired. Ozelle had been hit in the thigh and the shooter had driven off.

The shooter was later located in Georgia and arrested.

Ozelle Tryrece Tate is the fifth Tacoma homicide this year. He was a father of four. He had an outgoing personality. He was someone who could talk to anyone. And his loss echoes through the lives of those he knew.

As always the comments section is moderated with each comment approved by me and is reserved for those who knew Ozelle and want to share thoughts or memories of him.

  • Jack

4th Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Manuel (Manny) Ellis

Ellis

On the evening of March 3rd, 33-year-old, Manuel Ellis was playing drums at his church. He typically did this four nights a week and he was talented. In addition to drums he could play piano and keyboard. Manuel, or Manny as he liked to be called, was a father and uncle. He had an 18-month-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. He also had a methamphetamine addiction he was trying to kick. His faith and participation in church was helping him do that.

After playing drums at the church revival, he was feeling a lot of joy. He called his sister, his brother, and his mother to share how good he was feeling. At the end of his phone call with his mother he said, “Remember I love you.”

He spent the rest of the evening hanging out with his landlord and her husband until just before 11pm when he decided to go to the convenience store to get some snacks. What happened over the course of the next half hour is heavily disputed.

We know that Manny was high on methamphetamines. We know that members of the Tacoma Police Department made contact with Manny at 11:22pm near South 96th and Ainsworth. And we also know that Manny Ellis was dying within two minutes of police officers making contact with him.

Police claim that Manny was banging on a woman’s car window, trying to open parked car doors, and hit their car with his hands as well. They claim that he was suffering from a state called ‘excited delirium’ which is said to induce sudden acts of violence, unusual strength, and heightened temperature. They claim that when one officer got out of the car, Manny threw the officer to the ground. None of these claims have been substantiated. The autopsy makes no note of any signs of heightened delirium and though Manny’s toxicology report does show a high amount of methamphetamines in his system, the medical examiner says this was not the cause of death.

When police made contact with Manny, they used a Taser within the first minute striking him in the chest. They restrained him using handcuffs, a mouth hood to prevent biting or spitting, and a canvass strap to restrain his legs. Manny can be heard on police radio saying he couldn’t breathe at 11:23pm. Officers requested medical aid at 11:25pm, just three minutes after making contact with him. Within a minute of the fire department showing up, Manny Ellis was unconscious and had stopped breathing.

Paramedics spent 40 minutes using CPR and other life-saving procedures to try to save him, but Manny was pronounced dead at 12:12am. Later the Medical Examiner would confirm that Manny died of hypoxia due to restraint.

Manny Ellis is the fourth Tacoma homicide this year. He is also the fourth Tacoma homicide in the last two years committed by Tacoma police officers. The similarities between the death of Manuel Ellis and the death of George Floyd who also died in police custody due to careless restraint techniques are disturbing. Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and others have called for the charging and firing of the four officers involved in the death of Manuel Ellis, but no charges have yet been filed.

There have been multiple protests in the wake of Manny’s death. A local business near my office has his name spray painted on the plywood covering one of their windows. Homicides like Manny’s are the reason for the need and popularity of the Black Lives Matter movement.

What is sometimes lost in more heavily publicized murders is the loss of life on a more personal level. Manny had two children. His 18-month-old daughter will likely retain no memories of her father. His 11-year-old son will never get to have the adult friendship with his father that I so cherish with my own son. Manny helped raise his sister’s kids. They have lost a close and loving uncle. His mother has lost a son. His friends never get to hear Manny’s laugh again. Manny’s death doesn’t just have a political impact. The loss of Manny, like the loss of anyone will echo through the lives he touched for decades. It’s a loss that cannot be calculated. And I say that as someone who counts homicides in Tacoma.

My heart goes out to the family and friends of Manuel Ellis. His family has a GoFundMe campaign to help them get through this.

As always, the comments section is moderated (meaning each comment is approved by me before it shows up) and is reserved for those who personally knew Manny and who want to share thoughts or memories of him.

  • Jack

3rd Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Steven ‘Tony’ Haggard

Tony Haggard

48-year-old Steven Anthony Haggard, who went by Tony, was in his truck in the parking lot of the Jack In The Box in the 5200 block of Tacoma Mall Blvd. on the last Saturday morning in February. An unknown Black male in his late 20s or early 30s approached him on foot. He had black hair worn in braids or dreadlocks pulled into a pony tail. The sides and back of his head was shaved. He may have had a black eye from some previous altercation.

Tony and this man got into an argument that ended when the man shot Tony. He then drove off in Tony’s truck leaving him to die. Steven ‘Tony’ Haggard is the third homicide victim this year in Tacoma.

Because this is an unsolved homicide not a lot is known about the exact motive for the murder. What is known is that Tacoma has lost someone who was known for his generosity and willingness to help others out. His daughter, Kendra has lost a father. And we’ve all lost a world in which Tony is still a part of the future.

Haggard’s family was not wealthy and a GoFundMe campaign has been set up in his name to help pay for funeral costs and other expenses.

CrimeStoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Tony’s killer.

As always the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Tony and want to share thoughts or memories of him.

– Jack Cameron

2nd Tacoma Homicide of 2020: Ernest Guy Searcy

Ernest-Searcy

It was a cold Tuesday morning on January 14th when 48-year-old Ernest Searcy encountered another 48-year-old man on East L and Puyallup Avenue. They did not speak long and at no time did Ernest behave in any sort of threatening manner, but this did not stop the other man from shooting him twice then driving away. A passerby jotted down the license plate number of the man’s car and the man was arrested a short time after that. An individual administered CPR to Ernest until paramedics arrived, but they were unable to revive him. Ernest Searcy is the second Tacoma homicide of 2020.

Ernest was born in New Jersey. Growing up, Ernest was someone who picked things up very quickly. He’d create his own dances and write and perform raps. His grandmother nicknamed him ‘Speedy’. After high school he joined Job Corp and met Shalonda Nelson. The two of them had a daughter named Diamond. Though the relationship did not last, his love for his daughter never faded. He moved to Tacoma to reconnect with her. It wasn’t easy. Eventually they did reconnect and he started going to church with her.

When he wasn’t making music or spending time with his daughter, Ernest was a licensed forklift operator. He was someone who liked to laugh and had a habit of lightening the mood of any room he was in.

When a senseless killing like this happens, it’s difficult to understand or reconcile because there is a sudden hole in the lives of everyone who knew the victim. It’s something that changes lives in a way that can only be truly understood by others who have lost someone to violence.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Ernest and want to share thoughts or memories of him.

  • Jack