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
41-year-old Hyson Sabb arrived at a house near the 1500 block of South L Street last Saturday night around 10pm. A female friend of his was arguing with a 50-year-old man. The argument was getting physical. Hyson decided to get involved. The argument between the two men became heated. The older man threatened to kill Hyson and then left saying he would be back. Charging papers say that Hyson had his friend retrieve a gun from Hyson’s trunk. It was unloaded. Hyson allegedly talked with another friend about getting bullets, but then the older man returned. The older man stopped his car in the street, got out of the car and shot at Hyson hitting him at least once. Hyson was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.
Two weeks earlier, Hyson Sabb had eloped with his fiancé Adreine. They had a child together. Friends say he was looking at turning his life around. Instead Hyson Sabb is the ninth Tacoma homicide victim this year. And the fourth one on Tacoma’s Hilltop in the last twelve months.
At the time of this writing Tacoma Police have issued a warrant for 50-year-old Yancy Ray for Hyson’s murder. Crime Stoppers if offering a $1,000 for the arrest and charges filed against him. Read more about it here.
It’s easy for those who do not know the victim to think of it as just another shooting. If you’re connected to the victim, it’s anything but. Over the last decade that I’ve been writing about Tacoma homicides, I have heard from family and friends of homicide victims months and years after the event. The loss of a loved one echoes through the rest of their lives. In this case a child will grow up never knowing their father. My thoughts are with the friends and family of Hyson Sabb. I am sorry for your loss.
As always, the comments section is moderated. Only comments from friends and family of the victim will be approved.
– Jack Cameron
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
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
Last 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Jack Cameron
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