Category Archives: Tacoma Crime

Eighth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Emmitt Taylor Jr.

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On the evening of July 10th 59-year-old Emmitt Taylor Jr. was drinking at a homeless camp with a woman he knew near the 1100 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. They were joined by a 24-year-old man. At some point the man and Emmitt got into an argument. The argument got loud but eventually Emmitt chose to walk away. The other man followed. Emmitt was found a short distance away bleeding from the head. He was dead when paramedics arrived.

The 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged with first degree manslaughter.

This is Tacoma’s eighth homicide this year. And the second one that went virtually unreported by the press until someone was charged with his killing. Unfortunately, I was unable to find out much about Emmitt. This I have found is quite common with the homeless population. They rarely leave a digital footprint, but they are every bit as worthy of remembrance.

Associated Ministries is performing a moment of blessing at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South 11th Street today, July 20th from 3:30pm -3:45pm

Emmitt’s only daughter contacted  me and provided the photo above. She said he did all he could as a father and grandfather. He will be missed.

As always the comments section is reserved for friends and family who knew him to share any thought or memories they might like to share.

– Jack Cameron

Seventh Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Samuel Cruces Vasquez

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I have operated TacomaStories.com as a one-man website for ten years in one form or another. In that time I have made media, police, and government contacts, but my resources remain limited. This means that sometimes a homicide happens in Tacoma and I don’t find out about it until weeks or months later because it was never in the news. Such is the case with the death of 24-year-old Samuel Cruces Vasquez. His homicide went unreported in the media until a man was charged with his murder two weeks ago.

On April 28th, Samuel ended his shift at a restaurant in Southcenter Mall at around 10:30pm. He made a phone call to a friend saying he was going out for drinks. A little less than an hour later Samuel was found in 7800 block of South Trafton in Tacoma on the ground outside of his car. A butterfly knife was nearby. He had been stabbed multiple times. Paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital where he later died.

A friend of his was later arrested for the stabbing. The friend claimed it was part of a gang initiation. Samuel Cruces Vasquez was the seventh Tacoma homicide this year.

His girlfriend says that he was a very caring person who always put others before himself. He was also the father of two children.

As always the comments section is reserved for friends and family who knew him to share any thought or memories they might like to share.

– Jack Cameron

Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Marquel Bradley

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In the early morning hours of Saturday April 16th, 23-year-old Marquel Bradley was standing on near East 35th and L Street with a group of other people. At around 3:45am, a couple in a Dodge Avenger showed up. Survelience video shows that someone fired a shot at the car. One of the people in the car got out and shot into the group of people. There were at least 71 shots fired over the course of a minute. When the shooting was over, the couple in the vehicle drove a few blocks before their car with twelve bullet holes, a flat tire, and a steaming engine stopped working. They were soon arrested. Back at the scene of the shooting Marquel Bradley who was unarmed and had fired no shots at all had been shot in the head. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical in critical condition.

Marquel Bradley died ten days later. He was a family man with a six-year-old daughter and a fiancé with another child on the way. He would walk his daughter to and from school every day. Friends and family say he was funny. He had a real presence when he walked into the room.

Marquel is the sixth Tacoma homicide this year and the second homicide this year on Tacoma’s East Side. East Side residents have been fighting a battle for their neighborhoods for most of my life. It’s an area full of lower middle class residents who want what’s best for the community.  Recently the community came up with plans for a new East Side Community Center. It will include water slides, a recording studio, a teaching kitchen, and a 300-person social hall. You can find out more about this at   http://www.ImagineEastSide.org

We cannot bring Marquel Bradley back, but we can help make sure his children and our own grow up with a better East Side.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for friends and family of Marquel. Marquel’s mother has put up a GoFundMe page to help with the costs of his funeral and his young family. Here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/2fcegmdv

– Jack Cameron

Wanted: JD Ashton For Theft

jd2I had my X-Box 360 for over eight years. For the last three years you had to leave a disc in it or the disc tray would not open. About six months ago it not only had trouble opening but sometimes would not read the disc. It was dying, but it had lasted a long time and served by my son and me well. Two months ago I got the money together to replace the X-Box 360. It wasn’t easy. I’m a full-time student. I don’t have a lot of income. But I managed to get the money together and over the last couple of months I even purchased a few games.

Anyone who has been to my house can tell you that I don’t own much. I have a couple of nice things but most of what I own was given to me secondhand or bought at a thrift shop or yard sale. I can count on one hand the things I own that I spent over $100 on.

Over the weekend my girlfriend and I went on a two-day vacation to celebrate the third anniversary of our first date. This again was something we saved for months to do.

My 18-year-old son had the house to himself and chose to invite three friends over Saturday night. As parents-out-of-town-parties go, that’s pretty low-key. They went to sleep around 4:00am. One of them, a young man who goes by the name of JD Ashton got up, took our X-Box One (Serial #207185552648) , six games, and walked out the door sometime before 7:00am.

A quick check at his ex-girlfriend’s finds that she kicked him out the day before. The Tacoma Police Department was notified of the theft and we were given a case number. My son and I did our best to get the word out about this thief. It turns out this was far from his first theft. Multiple individuals have come forward to say he stole items from them as well. Many of these were people who had previously considered him a friend. It also turns out that when owners of the downtown skate shop Grit City Grindhouse saw the photo, they recognized him as the man who broke into their shop last year and stole over $1,000 worth of equipment.

I rarely post personal things on this page. However, JD Ashton has nont only stolen from me. This young man has been stealing from Tacoma residents for years. He is wanted by the Tacoma Police Department right now. If you recognize him, see him, or have any information to share please contact the Tacoma Police Department at 253-798-4721 and reference Incident Report #1611509007.

I am certain I have not heard from all of his victims. If JD Ashton has stolen from you, please comment below with the details and incident report number if you have it.

– Jack Cameron

Fifth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Ryan Wilkinson

0Last Friday night three people near the corner of South 48th and Yakima Street were shot. Near midnight they all arrived at the emergency room under their own transportation. One was treated and released. One had more substantial but non-life-threatening injuries and the third, 30-year-old Ryan Wilkinson died the following morning from his injuries.

Ryan was the father of a baby girl born a few months ago and seen in this photo. His friends say he was very loving and friendly and will be dearly missed.

The survivors of the shooting have been entirely uncooperative with authorities and so at this time not much more is known about the events or the circumstances surrounding those events. Authorities say that this was not a random act of violence and that the victims were specifically targeted.

This is the fifth homicide in the city of Tacoma this year making this year’s toll significantly higher than previous years. By this time in 2014 there had only been one homicide.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Ryan and might want to share stories or memories about him. Any negative comments will not be tolerated or accepted. Also if any friends or family have a photo they would like to share, you can email it to me at jackcameronis@gmail.com.

– Jack Cameron

Fourth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Maluelue Fitiao

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On the evening of March 13th, 39-year-old Maluelue Fitiao and his girlfriend were in his bedroom of his place in the 7400 block of McKinley Avenue. His male roommate had invited a few people over. The gathering got loud. Maluelue repeatedly asked them to keep quiet. According to charging papers, he eventually came out of the bedroom with a folding knife and demanded that everyone leave.

At this point a 27-year-old pulled out a .40 caliber pistol. The 27-year-old’s brother was in the next room. He pulled his 9mm pistol as well. What happened next isn’t entirely clear. Maluelue’s girlfriend came out of the bedroom. Witnesses say she grabbed another woman by the neck. Moments later the 21-year-old claims that Maluelue swung the knife at his brother at which point the 21-year-old opened fire. The two brothers fired a total of eleven shots. One narrowly missed a 10-year-old sleeping in another room. Maluelue was dead before emergency responders could arrive. His girlfriend was wounded.

The brothers left the scene, ditched their guns, and were later apprehended. Because Maluelue was armed with a knife prosecutors have declined to file homicide charges in his death though both brothers face weapons charges and one is being charged with the shooting of Maluelue’s girlfriend.

Maluelue’s friends called him ‘Lue’. They say he was a ‘gentle giant’. His death is senseless and demonstrates how quickly things can needlessly escalate when weapons are involved.

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

– Jack Cameron

Second Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Jacqueline Salyers

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On the Friday morning of January 29th on Tacoma’s South Side two police officers recognized a known fugitive sitting in the passenger seat of a car in the 3300 block of South Sawyer Street. In the driver’s seat was 32-year-old Jacqueline Salyers. When the officers attempted to approach the car, Jacqueline hit the gas. As the car barreled towards them, one officer fired at the car hitting Jacqueline with one bullet. The fugitive escaped on foot carrying a rifle and as of this writing has not yet been apprehended. The officers called for paramedics but Jacqueline died on the scene.

This is Tacoma second homicide this year and the first police involved shooting this year. Some have asked me why I count police involved homicides. The reason for this is that even when it is justified a life taken is a life taken. I would include vehicular homicides, but that gets fairly complicated. Ultimately, I’m a big believer in the thought that we are not just the worst things people know about us. There is a fairly small but vocal group that feels otherwise and thinks a criminal is a criminal. I know that a criminal is often a mother, a daughter, a dear friend, or a sister. Sometimes that ‘criminal’ isn’t even a criminal.

My point here is that at TacomaStories I focus on the victim and what was right with the victim. I try to write articles imagining the victim can read it. I wasn’t able to discover much about Jacqueline. As always, I leave it to those who knew her to share stories and memories of her in the comments section. All comments are moderated by me.

– Jack Cameron