Category Archives: Tacoma Homicides

Thirteenth Tacoma Homicide of 2012: Tristan Dillard

Early Tuesday morning six people in a Honda on Tacoma’s East Side. They’d spent most of the evening drinking and partying. At some point, an argument erupted between two people in the car. Both had guns. Around 1am, shots were fired in the car. The car crashed into a fence in the 6200 block of McKinley Avenue. One woman was injured and 20-year-old Tristan Dillard was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

At this time the shooter has not been arrested as it is being determined whether or not the shooting was self-defense. Police say that the shooter is being entirely cooperative.

This is the thirteenth Tacoma homicide this year. From the sounds of things, this was a tragic incident that should not have happened. As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew the victim and want to share their memories of him.

– Jack Cameron

Twelfth Tacoma Homicide of 2012: Michael Crawford

Monday night two Lakewood officers were patrolling Gravelly Lake Drive near I-5 in a patrol car when they spotted a stolen vehicle. The vehicle got onto I-5 heading North. The police officers chased the vehicle until it got off on the East Portland Avenue exit. Shortly after that, the police were able to do a maneuver to stop the stolen vehicle. At this time, according to police reports, the man in the car opened fire on them. The officers returned fire hitting 35-year-old Michael Crawford. Last night Michael died from his injuries. No police officers were hurt.

This marks the twelfth Tacoma homicide of 2012 and the second police involved homicide. We’ll likely never know all of the details that led to Michael choosing to open fire on police officers. Especially given recent local history, he had to know that doing so was a no-win situation. My heart goes out to both Michael’s family and the officers involved in the shooting. One of the reasons I include police involved shootings in the homicides I write about is that too often the media defines someone by their final act. Michael Crawford was certainly more than a car thief. As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Michael and want to share their memories with us.

–          Jack Cameron

Eleventh Tacoma Homicide of 2012 Patrick Nicholas

Last Tuesday 40-year-old Patrick Nicholas was at a storage facility on Sprague with his wife and another couple. The two men got into an argument. According to charging documents Patrick reached in his pocket. The other man shot him once but thought he had missed and shot him a second time. When police arrived, Patrick was found with a gun in his pocket.

The man who shot Patrick has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. This is the eleventh homicide of 2012 in the city of Tacoma. Typically the city averages about one homicide a month. More often than not, they seem to be situations in which an argument erupts into something much more violent.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Patrick. Here’s hoping his death is the last for the year.

– Jack Cameron

Tenth Tacoma Homicide of 2012: David Watson

Early Sunday morning, 45-year-old David Watson got in his pick-up truck and went looking for his dog. He apparently found his dog and stopped at a convenience store on S. 56th and S. Lawrence Street. While he sat in his pick-up truck somebody shot him. David then drove a couple of blocks before veering off the road. Neighbors reported the revving truck engine. David was found dead behind the wheel. His dog was with him. Surveillance cameras show two men running away from the pick up truck at the convenience store. Police are currently looking for these two men.

By all accounts this wasn’t a robbery or a drug deal gone bad. No one seems to know what exactly led to this tenth homicide in Tacoma this year. What is known is that David Watson will be missed and that his friends and family as well as this site hope that his killer is brought to justice soon.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew David to share with us who he was and remember him. I approve every comment on this site so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t pop up right away. Here’s hoping this is the last Tacoma homicide this year.

UPDATE: A 16-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the death of David Watson. Reports say that the boy and another 16-year-old boy confronted David demanding his possessions. He reportedly laughed at them and attempted to grab the gun and was shot during the confrontation.

– Jack Cameron

Ninth Tacoma Homicide of 2012, Robert Meline

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 25th, Robert Meline’s 29-year-old son drank a cup of coffee. Two years earlier he’d been released from Western State Mental hospital for treatment of paranoid schizophrenia. He was deemed ‘no longer an imminent threat to himself or those around him.’ Earlier in the week he’d bought a hatchet and told Robert Meline that he was going to kill him.

At just after two in the morning Robert Meline was attacked and killed by his son wielding a hatchet. He was 56 years old. Robert’s screams woke his daughter who found her brother on the stairs carrying a bloody hatchet. She then took her brother down the Pierce County Jail to turn himself in.

Robert was a sixth grade teacher in Bethel School District. By all accounts he was well liked and an all around positive person.  He had been with the school district for over twenty years.

It would be easy to cast blame on Western State and the status of our mental health facilities but unfortunately it’s not a simple problem that can be fixed easily and not every dangerous individual appears to be such before something violent happens.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew and remember Robert Meline and want to share with us what he was like.

–          Jack Cameron

Eighth Tacoma Homicide Of 2012, Jimmy Arevalo

30-year-old Jimmy Arevalo was at house party in the 2000 block of South 29th Street on Saturday night. In the early hours of Sunday morning a stranger arrived in a light colored SUV. Witnesses say that he wasn’t known to them but may have arrived with someone else. Jimmy and the stranger got into some sort of argument that ended when the stranger pulled out a gun and shot once into the ground and multiple times into Jimmy Arevalo.

As of this writing, no one has been arrested and no suspect has been identified. It is thought that Jimmy did not know his killer. This marks the eighth homicide in Tacoma this year. Typically we are closer to twelve or thirteen by this point in the year. Not that a lower crime rate does anything for the grieving families of those who are taken from us.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Jimmy to share whatever they want to share about Jimmy and his life.

Here’s hoping Jimmy’s killer is caught and caught quickly.

UPDATE: Police have made an arrest in the killing of Jimmy Arevalo.

– Jack Cameron

Seventh Tacoma Homicide of 2012: Sgt. Prince Gavin

Prince Gavin was a combat medic in the US Army. A sergeant. He was stationed at Joint Base Lewis/McChord. He’d done two tours in Iraq. He carried a .45 pistol for protection and had a permit to do so. As far as anyone can tell, he’d never pulled it on anyone. On Friday his ex-girlfriend was helping him move from his place on Mildred. He’d been recently been transferred to a base in Colorado. At some point there was an argument between the two or something happened that caused the police to respond. The officers arrived to the place on Mildred but found no one there. They had information that they may have gone to a house on the 0800 block of South M Street.
As Gavin and arrived in a truck on South M Street, a police officer pulled up. Reports say that Gavin ran from the truck towards the house. What happened next is unclear. There was some sort of confrontation between Gavin and the officer. The officer says he was in fear for his life and fired his service weapon twice killing Prince Gavin. Sgt. Gavin was 29 years old. Gavin’s pistol was found near his body. Friends say that Gavin was likely trying to show the officer that he was armed and the officer misunderstood. It’s unclear what exactly happened and the shooting is currently under investigation.
This is the second shooting this officer has been involved in. It would be easy to make the leap that the shooting was unnecessary and that this is just the latest in a recent string of questionable local police involved shootings over the past few years. However, as tempting as it might be to paint such a picture, doing so leaves out the fact that we don’t actually know what happened. All we know is that two armed men had a confrontation and that one killed the other.
I’ve known many police officers. Some of them have been involved in shootings. Not one of them wanted to kill anyone. I think the same is true of Sgt. Prince Gavin. Given what information we have, it’s difficult for me to see Gavin turning his weapon on a cop. At the same time, I have a hard time thinking that the responding officer’s actions were malicious. This is a tragedy. And I hope that the resulting investigation will uncover more facts.
My heart goes out to Gavin’s family and friends. And to the family of the officer involved in the shooting.
Sgt. Prince Gavin was the  seventh homicide in the city of Tacoma this year. As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Gavin to share their memories of the man and let the rest of us know who he was.
– Jack Cameron