Category Archives: Tacoma Homicides

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

First Tacoma Homicide of 2016: Dylan Lee Oman

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Name: Dylan Lee Oman

Age: 18

Date of Homicide: January 11, 2016

Location of Incident: Brown’s Point Blvd. & Mc Murray Road

Method of death: Shot

It’s 2016. I started writing about Tacoma Homicides back in 2006. This will be year eleven. And unfortunately this year didn’t even get into its second week before we lost another Tacoman to homicide. Another shooting. Another teenager. Another soul who will never reach their potential. This is the seventh teenager killed in Tacoma in the last year.

Dylan Lee Oman was a likable kid from Northeast Tacoma. He attended Stadium High School at one point. That’s where my son met him. They weren’t close, but they knew each other well enough. Dylan liked to help people.

In the early morning hours of January 11th, Dylan had joined a couple of friends in a car. They were going to find another friend who had fallen in with a bad crowd. At around 3:30am there was a confrontation. Shots were fired. Dylan was hit twice. He died later at the hospital.

Northeast Tacoma isn’t known for violent crime, but if there’s one thing covering homicides has taught me, it’s that no neighborhood is immune to crime.

As with so many murders of young people, I don’t have much I can share with you about Dylan. Like any teenager, he was nothing but potential. We will never know what we’ve truly lost with his death.

At the time of this writing, there have been no arrests in this case. People with any information are asked to call the Tacoma Police Department at 253-798-4721

As always the comments section is reserved for those who knew the victim and want to share memories or thoughts about the victim. The comment section is moderated and each comment is approved before it is posted.

I’m sure you can imagine this sudden loss has created a financial hardship on the victim’s family. If you’re in a position to help and feel like helping, this is the link to their crowdfunding campaign to pay for funeral costs.

– Jack Cameron

Fifteenth Tacoma Homicide of 2015 Tamara Fabre

On the final day of 2015, 49-year-old Tamara Fabre became the fifteenth homicide this year in Tacoma. Tamara has moved here from Texas back in April in order to help her mother. Her mother died of cancer in October.

Tamara lived in the 7000 block of Fawcett Avenue. Her brother lives across the street. The family was planning a large New Year’s Day meal. Tamara was preparing food for the gathering. She and her 81-year-old father got into an argument. At some point that argument turned physical. It ended when her father managed to grab a carving knife. Tamara was stabbed at least ten times. Her father then went to Tamara’s brother’s house and had him call the authorities.

As always, the comments section is moderated by me and reserved for those who knew Tamara and want to share memories for her.

– Jack Cameron

Fourteenth Tacoma Homicide of 2015: Preston Stafford

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It was a little after 1:00am early Sunday morning when neighbors heard the gunshots. Police arrived around 1:15am near the corner of East T and East Morton Street. They found 30-year-old Preston Stafford shot in the abdomen. Preston was transported to a local hospital where he died five hours later.

It turns out Preston had been waiting for a ride. He had contacted a woman for a ride, but when the car arrived, her boyfriend was driving. Her boyfriend said something about Preston owing him $50 and shot him.

Preston becomes the fourteenth Tacoma homicide this year and the third homicide this year on Tacoma’s East Side. Contrary to initial reports, Preston was not homeless at the time of his murder. The following day Tacoma Police arrested the 40-year-old woman and the 38-year-old man in connection with his murder.

Preston was well liked and enjoyed joking around and supporting the Seahawks. In other words, he was a lot like many of us.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who want to share memories or thoughts about Preston. The comment section is moderated and inappropriate comments will not be accepted.

It is my hope that this is the last homicide I have to write about this year.

– Jack Cameron

Thirteenth Tacoma Homicide of 2015: Jeffery Wayne Shaw

 

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It was early Sunday morning just after 2am in the parking lot of a convenience store in the 3700 block of North Pearl Street. In the passenger seat of a car sat 33-year-old Jeffery Wayne Shaw. A 38-year-old man had arranged to meet him and buy some heroin. The 38-year-old man approached the car and showed a fake badge. Jeffery responded by telling the driver to drive and was shot. The driver took Jeffery to Tacoma General Hospital. Shortly after arriving at the hospital he died from his wounds. The 38-year-old was arrested hours later by the Tacoma Police Department.

Jeffery Wayne Shaw is the thirteenth Tacoma Homicide this year. He was not unknown to the police. A quick online search will show he has a lengthy criminal history. It might not show that he has an eleven year old son. Or that he was apprenticing to be an electrician. It won’t likely show the friends and family who are devastated by the loss of this man. It won’t show what it’s like to grow up without a father.

Too often murders like this go unreported or ignored. Some people see a drug deal gone bad and assume anyone involved deserves what they get, but a man is more than his worst deeds. We all are. The life of Jeffery Wayne Shaw is just as important as any we’ve lost this year. And there is no way to discount his life without saying on some level that we do not value all life. At TacomaStories every life is vital and worth being remembered.

As always the comments section is moderated by me. Every comment must be approved. It is reserved for those who knew Jeffery and want to share thoughts of memories of him. Disparaging, insulting, or threatening comments will not be tolerated. There are sadly plenty of other places for that sort of thing

– Jack Cameron

There is a GoFundMe account for those who want to donate to the victim’s family. https://www.gofundme.com/f9eqk7z6

 

Twelfth Tacoma Homicide of 2015 Phillip Ryan Jr.

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Last Saturday afternoon at around 1pm 19-year-old Phillip Ryan Jr. was on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. He was less than a block from where Steven Speakman had been shot four days earlier near S. 10th and MLK when a car pulled up and shot Phillip. Emergency responders arrived and transported Philip to a nearby hospital where he died shortly after arriving.

Phillip is Tacoma’s 12th homicide this year. He is the third young man shot and killed in Tacoma in less than a week. This is the third shooting within four blocks of each other. And this is the fifth shooting in Tacoma in the last twelve days with a sixth one happening last night on S. 45th and Union where another young man was shot in the leg.

If this seems like an excessive amount of violence for Tacoma, it is. I’ve been talking about Tacoma homicides since 2006 and the last time I remember this much violence in so short a time it was the mid-1990s.

I call Tacoma the biggest small town in the world because everyone seems to know everyone. So I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that my teenage son knew Philip. They both attended Stadium together. A few years ago I even met the young man.

My son said he was funny. And his friends who also knew him are in shock at his sudden murder. Last night there was a Peace Walk near the spot where Elijah Crawford was killed and his friend was shot. Tonight (Sunday) at 5:30pm there’s going to be a gathering at Peoples Park near the shootings of both Steven Speakman and Phillip Ryan.

As always, the comments section is moderated by me and reserved for those who knew Phillip Ryan and want to share thoughts or memories.

Jack Cameron

Eleventh Tacoma Homicide of 2015: Steven ‘Little Stevie’ Speakman

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On Tuesday morning a man was walking back home after walking his wife to work in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. It was just after six in the morning. On South 10th and Martin Luther King Jr. Way he found 26-year-old Steven Speakman on the sidewalk. He’d been shot three times and had died from his wounds. The man tried to wave down a car for help, but it was a few minutes before anyone stopped.

Steven Speakman is the 11th Tacoma homicide of 2015 and the second to occur this week, with the shooting of Elijah Crawford happening just seven hours earlier on Tacoma’s East Side.

Steven was 26 years old but was intellectually disabled and functioned at the level of a ten year old. He lived only two blocks from where he was found and was well known and well liked in the neighborhood. People called him ‘Little Stevie’. A small memorial stands where Steven was found.

At this time police do not have a suspect or a motive. He was not robbed of anything but his life. Police are asking for anyone who might have information or been in the area around that time to contact them.

Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood is notorious for its high crime rate in the early 1990s, but this is actually the first homicide in Hilltop in over a year. What once was a neighborhood that people were rightly afraid to go into has become a much safer, more vibrant part of Tacoma.

As always, the comments section is moderated by me and reserved for those who want to share thoughts and memories of Little Stevie.

– Jack Cameron

Tenth Tacoma Homicide of 2015: Elijah Crawford

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Last Monday night 18-year-old Elijah Crawford and two friends were sitting in a car in the 1800 block of East 44th Street a little after 11:30pm. Someone approached the car and opened fire. When police arrived minutes later, they found Elijah had been killed becoming the tenth Tacoma homicide this year. A 20-year-old friend was wounded and taken to a nearby hospital. The third friend was physically uninjured.

Elijah graduated from Lincoln High School earlier and married his high school sweetheart. He was a popular and fun loving student who liked wrestling and photography. It’s genuinely difficult to find a photo where he isn’t smiling. A former teacher of his learned of his death and wrote about Elijah and what Tacoma has lost with his passing. You can read it here. The News Tribune also has an excellent article on Elijah Crawford. Here’s the link for that.  (Read it now as their articles are unavailable online after 90 days without a subscription.)

This shooting was one of three within the space of a few hours in Tacoma during Monday night and Tuesday morning. Around 3:40am near North 13th and Lawrence Street a drunk driver fired ten shots at University of Puget Sound security guards thankfully hitting no one. Also around 6:15am this morning 26-year-old Steven Speakman was found with fatal gunshot wounds on S. 10th and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. This is an unusual amount of violence in such a short amount of time.

As always, the comments section is moderated by me and reserved for those who want to share thoughts, memories, and other remembrances of Elijah and his life that was all too short.

At the time of this writing, a suspect has not been arrested or identified.

There is a Peace Walk scheduled for tonight (Saturday November 7th) near where Elijah and his friend were shot. It starts at 5pm at the Family Investment Center Park at 1724 East 44th Street in Salishan.

-Jack Cameron

Ninth Tacoma Homicide of 2015 Clifford Bennett

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photo courtesy of KOMONews

Clifford Bennett lived with his 78-year-old mother Joyce Coffel in a house in the 5800 block of East I Street. He was 57 and disabled. A woman was lived in the basement. Her 27-year-old son had been staying there for a few days. Last Tuesday the 27-year-old had been up for three days on a combination of heroin and methamphetamines. A little after two in the afternoon, the 27-year-old went upstairs and hit Clifford with a ballpeen hammer five or six times, killing him. He also attacked Clifford’s mother hitting her with the hammer in both eyes. At the time of this writing she is still at Harborview with life threatening injuries.

Clifford Bennett is the eighth Tacoma homicide this year. His mother may very well become the ninth. We are on track to have roughly one homicide a month this year which is fairly typical for the city of Tacoma.

Given the ages and circumstances of the victims, there simply isn’t much information about the lives of Clifford Bennett or Joyce Coffel. Those who knew them are encouraged to share stories about them in the comments section. As always, I monitor the comments section and each comment must be approved before it appears. This is to stop disrespectful or hurtful comments.

On a personal note, I’ve been writing about Tacoma homicides in one form or another for almost ten years now. Sometimes I find the words easily and I’m able to share how people are killed in my hometown. Other times, like with this particular case, I find it much more difficult.

Clifford and Joyce didn’t live in the best neighborhood. And she was likely renting out rooms to help offset the costs of taking care of her disabled son. Clifford and Joyce deserved better than this senseless act.

Again, as always, comments are reserved for those who knew Clifford or Joyce. My thoughts go out to their friends and family.
– Jack Cameron