Category Archives: Tacoma Crime

Thirteenth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Dustin Kopp

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


  • Jack Cameron

Eleventh and Twelfth Tacoma Homicides of 2016: Terry Northcutt and Voravangso Phanmana

Terry Northcutt at his daughter's wedding.

Terry Northcutt at his daughter’s wedding.

Voravangso 'Two' Phanmana

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

Eighth Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Emmitt Taylor Jr.


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


I have operated 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

marquel bradley

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

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:

– 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

– Jack Cameron