Sixteen-year-old Jemone Pratt was standing with friends on front porch of a house in the 4600 block of South J Street on July 30th. A minivan drove by. The occupants of the van recognized Jerome. They believed he had threatened two of them in the van previously. They went around the block so that one of them could switch seats. They pulled up on the house and fired seven shots. Six hit the house. One hit Jemone Pratt in the head. He was transported to Tacoma General Hospital where he died of his injuries after fighting for his life for five hours.
This is the fourteenth Tacoma homicide this year. Typically we have roughly half this number of homicides by the end of July.
Tacoma police picked up the shooter along with two accomplices in the van days later. Jemone’s killer has been charged with first degree murder.
Jemone’s friends called him “Junior”. He had a larger than life personality. His family loved him dearly. The murder of and by teenagers are among the most tragic. Teenagers are just figuring out who they are and have yet to become who they could be. We’ll never get to know who Junior might have been. That’s been stolen from his friends and loved ones.
As always, the comments section is moderated and is reserved for those who knew Junior and want to share thoughts or memories of him.
There is a GoFundMe set up in Jerome’s name.
– Jack Cameron
On the morning of Sunday, July 21nd, 28-year-old Hashim Wilson was pulled over by a Tacoma Police officer near South 40th and G Street. According to police reports Hashim exited the vehicle with a rifle and pointed it at the police officer. When he failed to obey commands, the officer shot him. Hashim was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died of his wounds becoming the thirteenth Tacoma homicide this year.
This is the third Tacoma police involved shooting this year. Willem Van Spronsen was shot just a week earlier, and a 53-year-old homeless woman armed with a knife was non-fatally shot weeks before. Typically there are one or two police involved shootings in Tacoma every year. But like other homicides, police involved shootings seem to be increasing as well.
Hashim and his partner lived in Sammamish. He had a daughter who was the light of his life. He loved gardening and eating healthy. And he had a habit of putting family and friends above everything.
We may never know the details of Hashim’s last moments. But those who knew him will always remember the impact he had on their lives.
As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for friends and family of Hashim who want to share thoughts or memories of him.
– Jack Cameron
Less than three miles from where I’m writing this there sits a for-profit prison capable of housing 1,575 individuals, most of whom are in the Northwest Detention Center at 1600 East J Street simply for not being in this country legally. While one might be able to debate the merits of the immigration system, there is no moral argument to be made that incarceration should be something others profit off of.
It’s the sort of thing that can bother a person. Willem Van Spronsen was such a person. 65-years-ols, a former member of the John Brown Gun Club, a self-described anarchist, with a history of protesting what he felt was wrong came to the end of his rope in the early morning hours of July 11th. Armed with a rifle, flares, and other incendiary devices, Willem arrived at the Northwest Detention Center to cause trouble. Specifically he wanted to damage the vehicles ferrying prisoners in and out of the prison.
He successfully caught a vehicle on fire. Soon police arrived. There was an exchange of gunfire and Willem Van Spronsen was shot and killed by four Tacoma Police officers becoming the twelfth Tacoma homicide this year.
Willem lived on Vashon Island and was an avid activist. Shortly before he was killed, Willem sent out a three page manifesto saying that he saw the Northwest Detention Center as a symbol of rising fascism and lamenting that he would likely be killed in his action. It isn’t difficult for me to understand the motivations of Willem. It is also not difficult to understand the actions of the police officers. What was likely most unknowable for Willem was the impact the loss of his life is having now to his friends and his family.
When something like this happens, it is easy to get swept up in the headlines and forget about the individual impact the loss of a man’s life has on those who knew him. Though Willem’s loss is hurtful, there is perhaps some solace in the fact that he was killed doing what he’d done all his life, standing up for what he believed in.
As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Willem and want to share any thoughts or memories of him.
The twelve-year-old girl could hear her parents arguing on the early Sunday morning of June 9th. This wasn’t new. Her parents had divorced two and half years ago. They slept in separate bedrooms in a house in the 500 block of East 75th Street. Her and two of her older sisters all lived under one roof. Her father was upset that her mother was in a new relationship. By 6:15am, she’d gone out to the living room where they were fighting. At some point her father got a gun. He shot her mother once in the arm and once in the head and shot himself. The twelve year old girl took her siblings to the neighbor’s house and called 9-1-1. Police arrived and found that the bullet had ricocheted off her father’s head. He could make a full recovery. Her mother on the other hand was dead. 37-year-old Jennifer Forsman is the eleventh Tacoma homicide this year.
The man who shot Jennifer was arrested and successfully hung himself while in custody four weeks later.
Jennifer was the mother of four daughters, ages 12-19. She worked as a barista at a University Place Starbucks where she’d been for over a decade. Family members say she was always a very positive person who tended to see the best in people. She was well liked and a good mother.
Whenever I tell people that I write about Tacoma homicides they tend to respond by saying, “A lot of gang shootings, right?” But the truth is that situations like the one that led to Jennifer Forsman’s murder are much more common when it comes to homicide. Domestic violence is one of the biggest dangers we tend to ignore.
I don’t know why Jennifer and her ex-husband lived together. It may have been as simple as the rent in Tacoma rising too fast for either to afford places of their own. Perhaps they wanted to live together for the children. Whatever the case, it is a tragedy that there wasn’t more help available for her. Domestic situations are never simple and solutions are rarely easy.*
I can’t imagine what the Forsmans’ children and families are going through. There is a fundraiser set up for the Forsman family at this link.
The comments section is reserved for friends and family of Jennifer Forsman who might want to share thoughts or memories of her. All comments are moderated and approved before they post.
*If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence contact the Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or click here.
On June 3rd at around 2:30am in the 3800 block of South Yakima, Tyree Jevon Gipson-Faison was shot. When police arrived they found a crowd standing around. Some were giving aid to Tyree. Paramedics arrived and transported him to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he died about an hour later from his wounds becoming the tenth Tacoma homicide this year.
There was not much more information about this incident that I could find. No arrests have been made as far as I can tell. The homicide itself received very little coverage and all too often, I don’t have much more to work with than what has been reported. It’s important to note that there is no such thing as a minor homicide. Every murder shatters multiple lives that are changed forever due to the sudden loss. I want to write more but I don’t have more information to share.
I also was unable to find much information about Tyree online. Quite often the only information I’m able to discover is what I can find online and so I have to rely on friends and family to fill in the picture of who he was. This is what the comments section is for.
Tyree’s death is the second homicide this year in this location and the fifth homicide within a block of this location since 2014. After hours clubs in this area have been a problem for years.
Typically by June we have five homicides in the city. This year it’s ten. We are losing too many Tacomans to homicidal violence.
As I mentioned, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim who want to share thoughts or memories of Tyree.
– Jack Cameron
It was April 18 just after 3:00 am when Joshua Everman’s 31-year-old fiancé called 9-1-1 from their apartment in the 1200 block of Pearl Street. A month earlier she’d been charged with domestic violence 4th degree assault. That resulted in a restraining order that had been lifted just one week before her 9-1-1 call. In her call she said that Josh had shot himself during an argument they had about a gun.
Police spoke to his fiancé. She said they had been arguing and she had gone to deal with their 4-month-old baby when he shot himself. Her hands were covered in blood. Josh was on the bed in the bedroom. He had been shot in the left side of the head. But he was right-handed. There were no powder burns around the wound indicating the gun was fired from at least a foot away. And then there were the two bullets lodged in the wall at the same trajectory as the bullet that had hit him.
Paramedics took Josh to the hospital where he later died becoming Tacoma’s seventh homicide this year. His fiancé was arrested and charged with first degree murder.
I spent some time on Josh’s Facebook page. There are dozens of photos of him, his fiancé, and their two kids camping, traveling, and having adventures. It’s clear that their life together wasn’t all bad. It’s stunning to think that I’m looking at a murderer and her victim. And I can’t help but think of the children. One four and the other four months. There’s a senselessness to this. It didn’t need to happen.
When one is in a domestic violence situation it is easy to rationalize. It’s not that bad. Others have it worse. It’s just a rough patch. The cemetery has many people in it who thought exactly the same way.
It’s impossible to overstate the loss of Joshua Everman to his family, to his friends, to his children. It’s something that will echo throughout their lives.
As always, the comment section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Josh and want to share memories of him. My thoughts go out to those impacted by his murder.
Forty-two year old Daniel Stueart was known to his friends as Danny Rasher. On April 13th, around 7:30pm Danny was at a homeless encampment in the 9900 block of Steele Street when he encountered someone with a gun. The gunfire alerted others who contacted authorities. Danny had already died by the time first responders arrived. Danny became the sixth Tacoma homicide this year.
I could not find much information about Danny. His Facebook page says he attended John Brown University studying psychology. He then attended the University of Arkansas but left for a job. He had at least one child. A son. Other than that, I wasn’t able to find much more. Not that more information would ever complete a full picture of who Danny was to his friends and family.
Typically Tacoma averages about one homicide a month. This is our sixth in just over three months, nearly double our typical rate over the last ten years. The reasons for this increase are difficult to discern. We’ve experienced an increase in population, our police department is underfunded, and any number of other factors may be to blame. What is clear is more people are being murdered in Tacoma than usual and each of them impacts the community.
Danny’s murder remains unsolved. Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of whoever killed Danny. You can use the P3 Tips App on your smart phone to anonymously submit the information, or call the hot line at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477)
As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew and loved Danny.
Twenty-seven year old Emmalee Masker sat in a car with a seventy-one year old man she had known for the better part of a decade. It was January 16th. The weekend. They sat in the parking lot in the 4800 block of Tacoma Mall Blvd. The one with a Mexican restaurant on one side and Chuck E. Cheese on the other.
Over the years the man had given her money when she needed it. But the man was out of money. In fact he had recently declared bankruptcy. This was apparently too much for the man. He pulled a pistol and shot Emmalee multiple times. Then he shot himself in the head.
Emmalee Masker was dead when police arrived. She was the third Tacoma homicide this year and the second to be shot and killed. Neither Emmalee or the man who killed her were married. The details of their relationship are likely known only to them. Anything else is speculation.
Emmalee liked turtles. She would post images of them that she liked on Pinterest. She did the same thing with interesting nail designs. It’s difficult to get a feel for what a person was like in life simply by looking at what they left behind online, but for those who knew and loved Emmalee she has left behind so much more. There is an echo left when a loved one dies. It is the sort of thing that is hard to fully grasp until one has the misfortune to experience it. Like everyone, Emmalee was more than simply what we find of her. And like everyone who is murdered, we have lost the chance to find out what more she could have been.
As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of Emmalee who might want to share thoughts or memories of her. All comments are moderated and approved by me before they appear.
– Jack Cameron
Steven Dedeaux Jr began his 31st and final birthday at an after hours club in the 3800 block of South Yakima Avenue. The club had two armed guards. They patted down everyone as they came in. Steven was inside the club and armed. Some patrons were allowed to carry weapons, but if the bouncers did not know them, weapons were not allowed.
Around 3:30am Steven noticed that someone he knew was having trouble at the door. The security guards were detaining him after finding a weapon on him. They had gotten one of his wrists in handcuffs when Steven yelled at them to let the man go. When they didn’t, Steven drew his gun and pointed it at them threatening to shoot if they did not let the man go. Instead the security guards opened fire, shooting Steven. One of the security guards was shot in the hand. The man in one cuff ran off.
Steven was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was later died becoming the second homicide victim this year.
This was not the first incident at this after-hours motorcycle club. Michael Ward Jr. was killed here back in 2014.
Unfortunately I was not able to find very much information on Steven Dedeaux Jr. This is often the case with homicide victims and one of the reasons that the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew the victim and want to share thoughts or memories of him.
– Jack Cameron
It couldn’t go on like this. Mary Hoffer knew that the fights with her boyfriend had to stop. It was constant. Neighbors in the apartment building in the 800 block of South 8th Street had become used to the yelling, the screams, the things breaking. It had to stop. She told her coworkers that she would meet up with them on January 4th, Friday night after she sat down and had a civilized talk with her 37-year-old boyfriend.
Mary never showed Friday night. She didn’t answer phone calls. She wasn’t online. When she didn’t answer her door on Saturday, her coworkers called the police. Police arrived and found Mary dead. She had been beaten and strangled becoming the first Tacoma homicide this year. They also found her boyfriend dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The two of them were from Warsaw, Indiana. Mary was known to be a generous person. In 2015 she organized a GoFundMe for someone who had lost everything. My thoughts go out to her family and to all who knew this couple. Death has a way of rippling through the lives of those still living. It’s impossible to estimate the impact someone makes until they are gone.
As always the comments section is reserved for those who knew Mary who might want to share any thoughts or memories of her.