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
52-year-old Phyllis Hamilton lived with her two sons (ages 26 and 27) in a house in the 1400 Block of South Madison Street. She was an avid reader and absolutely devoted to her sons.
On the evening of April 29th, something happened inside the house to set off her 27-year-old son. He burst into his brother’s room carrying a shotgun and wearing a bandoleer of shotgun shells. His brother was so afraid that he climbed out the window onto the roof and ran down the alley. The oldest son then set off in his mother’s Cadillac SUV trying to chase down his brother firing at least once.
Police pulled over the SUV and arrested the man. Then they headed back to his mother’s home where they discovered Phyllis Hamilton dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Phyllis is the ninth Tacoma homicide this year.
Phyllis was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness. Friends say she was incredibly sweet.
If there is a pattern in the sharp increase in homicides this year, it is the sheer senselessness of the killings. Again and again I find myself writing about a crime that simply should not have happened.
As always, the comment section is moderated and reserved for friends and family who knew Phyllis and want to share memories.
– Jack Cameron
In the early morning hours of April 23rd, 43-year-old James ‘Jimmy’ Mureness was at a bus stop in the 2900 block of East D Street with a friend when a 23-year-old man in a hoodie approached them. Hours earlier the man had fired multiple shots into his ceiling. Police were called, but he had left by then. The man in the hoodie said nothing to Jimmy and his friend and left, then came back moments later and shot them both before running away.
Jimmy’s friend survived. Jimmy wasn’t so lucky. Jimmy Mureness is the eighth Tacoma homicide this year.
Police caught up with the shooter later that same evening. He shot himself in the forehead, but only received minor injuries from the shot. After being treated for his injuries, he was arrested and charged with first degree murder and first degree attempted murder.
Statements made by the shooter were inconsistent and contradictory, calling his mental well being into question, but whatever the explanation, the loss of life is still devastating for his friends and family.
Jimmy’s family lives in upstate New York. They have a GoFundMe set up to offset costs of having his body and belongings shipped back east. You can donate here:
As always, the comment section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Jimmy and want to share memories of him.
– 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.
Thirty-four-year-old Gerald Antonio Bryant Jr. and a 21-year-old friend of his were drinking and play fighting in front of his friend’s apartment. The play fighting soon became argumentative. His friend’s mother, noticing her son’s level of intoxication asked him to come back into his apartment, but both he and Gerald remained angry at each other. Over his mother’s and brother’s objections, the man grabbed the keys to his Volkswagen Jetta and ran outside. He got into the vehicle and then ran Gerald over multiple times before fleeing.
Gerald was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and placed on life support where he remained for the few days until he died becoming the fifth Tacoma homicide this year. The man who ran him over was arrested a few days after the incident and has been charged with second degree murder.
Gerald graduated from the same high school as I did. Growing up, he worked on cars and did yard work with his grandfather. He was shy as a kid until he got into sports. Basketball, football, wrestling – he tried almost everything. He developed a larger than life personality with a smile that was infectious. Shortly after high school, his first child was born. Over the next few years he’d have six more. No matter what he was up to, he did his best to make sure he had Dad time. If a friend’s car broke down, he’d be with him under the hood. He’s gone now thanks to a senseless murder, but those who knew him will never forget him.
As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew and loved Gerald. If they want to share thoughts or stories of Gerald, this is a place to do it.
In the early morning hours of March 12th, 40-year-old William Harris was in an apartment in the 300 block of South 9th Street. He noticed another 40-year-old man looking at pornography on a computer. It appeared to William to be child pornography. He decided to say something about it to the man. This led to an argument that soon got physical. The other man stomped and kicked William. He choked him with his own coat. At some point in the fight, the apartment door came off its hinges. A neighbor heard the commotion and stepped into the hallway to investigate, finding the other man covered in blood. The man lunged at the neighbor who then pepper sprayed him.
When police arrived around 1am, they found the other man speaking incoherently and standing over Harris who was not breathing. Police administered CPR. William was taken to St. Joseph’s hospital where he was pronounced dead.
William is the fourth Tacoma homicide this year. He was homeless at the time of his death. I was unable to find out much information about him quite frankly because he has a very common name. I wish I had more information to share because one of the purposes of this site is to give a fuller picture of the person this city has lost. Every death matters. When that death is the cause of someone else’s senseless actions, it is all the more terrible.
As always the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew William to share thoughts or memories. Also if someone who knew William wants to provide a photo of him for this post, I’ll be happy to include that.
– Jack Cameron