Category Archives: Tacoma Homicides

Seventh Tacoma Homicide of 2013 Lawrence Howse

howse-lawrenceThe city of Tacoma managed to be fairly quiet when it came to homicides this summer. Unfortunately, last Saturday we added one more killing to the year’s totals.

A little after 10 pm on Saturday night at 54-year-old Lawrence Howse arrived home at Sky Terrace. He entered the code for the secure parking garage and parked his black BMW. Before the garage door shut, two men slipped inside and confronted him and robbed him. Then one of the men shot Lawrence. The two men then left. Police believe they headed north on Broadway.

Around 10:30pm a passerby found Lawrence, called 911 and started administering CPR. Fire crews arrived shortly afterward and pronounced Lawrence dead on the scene.

Back in 1995 I lived on the second floor of Sky Terrace. It’s been through some renovations since then and converted from apartments to condominiums. It was a good place to live though, close to downtown Tacoma and the Stadium District shops. Each apartment has a balcony with a great view of the water.

Police say this was a crime of opportunity.

The two suspects are still out there. Crime Stoppers described the suspects as ‘two black males in their late teens or early 20’s with average builds.  The first suspect was seen wearing a white shirt and dark pants, and had a light complexion.  The second suspect was wearing a dark shirt, dark pants, and his hair may have been worn in an afro or short braids.’ Crime Stoppers is offering $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the killers.

Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool is asking anyone who saw anything suspicious Saturday night near South 4th and Broadway or Stadium Way to call 253-591-5968.

As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim.

–          Jack Cameron

UPDATE: 09/27/13 Tacoma Police have arrested two people in connection with the death of Larry Howse.

Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2013: Frank Rossiter, Jr.

FrankRossiterJrThe text came a little after 8pm on Thursday night. One of my close friends who lives near North 46th and Ferdinand sent the following message: ‘Wow. Someone just shot up our neighborhood!’  I quickly called him. He told me that he was working in the back yard when he heard a series of gunshots then silence, then a few more gunshots. He went inside the house and told his wife and infant son to get on the floor. He then went into the bedroom, got his pistol, and locked the doors.

Outside what had happened was that a neighbor had fired off his pistol from his back porch before walking up and directly confronting 55-year-old neighbor Frank Rossiter, Jr. He then shot and killed Frank and threatened other neighbors before leaving the area. The shooter was a known heavy drinker who neighbors called ‘a bit crazy’.

Tacoma police swarmed the area and would later discover the shooter went to a friend’s house in Gig Harbor where he killed himself.

Frank Rossiter, Jr. by all accounts was a well liked guy. He was the father of a 12-year-old boy. He liked fishing. His son and my friend’s older son are friends.

This is the sixth homicide this year in the City of Tacoma. Sadly, this is about average for our city. Most years we have between 12-15 homicides. Each loss is felt by hundreds of friends and families. In this case a boy has lost his father. The purpose of this site is to focus more on the victim than the perpetrator because the shooter tends to get most of the attention from the media.

On Saturday I had dinner with my friend. We talked about the recent murder. While not a close friend of the victim, he knew of him. My friend mentioned that his older son told him after the murder that the shooter would frequently threaten to shoot kids who cut through his yard. His son had never bothered to tell him until after the murder. Every neighborhood has a crazy guy in it. Unfortunately this one was actually dangerous.

As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim. Share your thoughts and memories of Frank with us. His Tacoma Story deserves to be told.

–       Jack Cameron

Fifth Tacoma Homicide of 2013 – Terric Davis

terrick_davisTerric Davis’ life ended in Tacoma last night after only three years on this planet. A little after 11pm, his mother took him to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital because her child was having trouble breathing. An examination showed signs of blunt force trauma to the head and abdomen, clear signs of abuse. Twenty minutes later, Terric Davis’ died. His mother’s boyfriend has been arrested in connection with the murder. Terric’s 2-year-old sister was taken into protective custody by police.

This is the fifth Tacoma homicide this year and the second Tacoma homicide in which the mother’s boyfriend murdered a toddler. A little over a month ago two-year-old Chayson Colley-Jones was murdered.

I would love to write more about Terric’s life, to tell you of all of the friends he made, the things he accomplished, and the dreams he had. Unfortunately, these things will never be known and never happened and cannot be written about. These Tacoma stories have been stolen from all of us and we are all a little poorer because of it.

–          Jack Cameron

Fourth Tacoma Homicide of 2013 Chayson Colley-Jones

Chayson Colley-JonesTwo-year-old Chayson Colley-Jones spent his last night in a downtown apartment building on Saturday, March 30th. His mother was going out to celebrate her birthday. Chayson was being watched by his mother’s 19-year-old boyfriend who had moved in five weeks earlier. At 4am Sunday morning someone called the police because they saw the boyfriend with a badly injured Chayson in the lobby of the apartment building.

The police arrived and found Chayson not breathing. His mother’s boyfriend told them that the child had fallen. Chayson was taken to the hospital where he died hours later. His injuries were extensive and extreme. The two-year-old’s blood alcohol level at the time of his death was .12. There was also evidence that he’d been raped. The boyfriend has been arrested and charged for his crimes.

It’s difficult to imagine a worse crime than the death of Chayson Colley-Jones. There is no rational understanding of horrific final hours of Chayson. Murders such as this are often shown as an example of why we must continue to have the death penalty. Here in Washington we still have the death penalty and that did not deter Chayson’s murderer which may be just as powerful an argument against such a practice.

Chayson’s murder is tragic. He was someone who never got to show Tacoma what he could have been. He has been lost to us and the city is a little worse off for it. The only consolation is that the person responsible has been apprehended and that events such as this are rare.

Typically I ask that comments be left strictly for those who have memories to share of Chayson. Sadly, I fear his life was far too short for any comments at all. If friends or family of Chayson are reading this, please share your favorite memories with us. My thoughts are with you.

Rest in peace, Chayson. You are not forgotten.

–          Jack Cameron

Third Tacoma Homicide of 2013 Donald Phily

A little after midnight on Friday March 29th police received phone calls reporting gun shots near South 72nd and Pacific. At the nearby Morgan motel they found 42-year-old Donald Phily dead from gunshot wounds.

At the time of this writing there is still very little information being released to the public. There are probably a couple of reasons for this. One is that in the first few hours of a homicide investigation the police like to keep information quiet because it helps find the person responsible. (If someone has information that the news never reported then they know that person might be valuable to the investigation.)

The other reason that there is very little news coverage of this homicide is that the Morgan is known for frequent criminal activity and while crime in Tacoma is nowhere near the levels that it used to be, someone getting killed on the South Side of Tacoma in a cheap motel room isn’t what some news outlets would call ‘newsworthy’.

I do my best to report every homicide that happens in Tacoma because every death affects friends and family of the victim. They’re all important deaths. If I had the time and the resources, I’d cover more than just homicides.

My heart goes out to the friends and family of Donald Phily and I hope his killer is brought to justice. As always, the comments section is reserved for the victim’s friends and family to share their memories of Donald. These victims of homicides may be gone, but we can preserve the memories of them for others because each of them is a Tacoma Story.

– Jack Cameron

Second Tacoma Homicide of 2013 Sara Barrett

SaraBarrettSara Barrett was putting her life back together. She had three children, all boys. Her youngest just turned twenty-one. She had recently become a grandmother. She was also estranged from her husband of over twenty years. On Wednesday morning she posted on Facebook, Good Morning and Happy Hump day everyone. Today is a good day and will be an even better night :))))’  Before the next morning, 42-year-old Sara Barrett would be found dead in a motel room at the Motel 6 off of South 72nd Street and her estranged husband would be arrested after making a phone call to a local TV station where he confessed to her murder and then leading the police on a chase that ended across the Narrows Bridge.

Sara is the second Tacoma homicide of 2013. Her marriage had been on and off for last few years. In 2007 her husband tried to smother her with a pillow. There were two restraining orders filed during that time but they were denied when Sara didn’t show up for court.

In many ways the death of Sara Barrett is a textbook case of domestic violence. These situations are difficult. It’s easy for some to say she simply needed to get away from her abuser, but he wasn’t just that to her. He was her husband of over twenty years. He was the father of her children. It’s not easy to see that person as a deadly danger. Sara seems to be someone who always saw the best in people. It’s likely one of the things that made people love her. She will be missed.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Sara and want to share memories of her. The purpose of writing these articles is so that the people who are taken from us in this city are remembered.

Here’s hoping we can go a long time before I write another one.

–       Jack Cameron

First Tacoma Homicide of 2013: Tyliah Young

Tyliah YoungIt’s been brutally cold lately in Tacoma. The other night I walked from my house to my friend’s without a coat. His place is just four houses away. I was so cold when I got there that I stayed for an hour just to warm up. A little over two miles away on Saturday morning, 23-year-old Tyliah Young was found in an alleyway near S. 12th and Ainsworth. Her body was frozen. There was frozen blood present causing police to believe it was not the elements that killed her. Today the medical examiner released her cause of death as multiple gunshots to the head.

Tyliah was from New York and had talked of going back there where she had family. Friends and family say she was a happy person. She had two young daughters.

Some people will say that a homicide on Tacoma’s Hilltop is nothing new. They will say that it’s an area famous for violent crime. And they’re right about that much. However, Hilltop’s reputation is far worse than the reality. In the years since the gang and crime filled days of the early 1990s, Hilltop has emerged as a better neighborhood full of new businesses and an active community. As a life-long citizen of Tacoma, there was a time when I wouldn’t even drive in Hilltop at night. Now, I feel safe walking those same streets.

Tacoma’s first homicide of 2013 is tragic and here’s hoping it’s one of the few this year. As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family if they want to share thoughts or stories about Tyliah for others to read. I’m sorry for your loss.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for Tyliah’s murder. http://www.tpcrimestoppers.com/case.php?id=555

–          Jack Cameron