Denise Smith was working her fifth shift at her new job as a security guard at a building in the 900 block of A Street. In the early morning hours of July 18, 2021, she was watching camera monitors from the lobby when she saw a homeless woman washing herself in the fountain in front of the building. The 41-year-old security guard walked outside to talk to the woman and then returned to the lobby.
Moments later a 26-year-old 6’5” drunk male soldier approached the front door of the building. He had recently lost a bar fight. Denise motioned for him to leave. He didn’t. When she opened the door, the man immediately began beating her. During the next ten minutes Denise fought back, tried to escape, and did everything she could to survive, but her attacker was relentless, dragging her around, stabbing her with her keys, and beating her again and again.
Denise was found just after 6:00am when the security guard arriving for the next shift arrived. Denise was pronounced dead on the scene becoming Tacoma’s 14th Tacoma homicide.
The perpetrator of this crime had no motive, claims not to remember the attack, and has been charged with first degree murder.
Denise is described by family as being a sweet person who largely kept to herself.
As always the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Denise and want to share any thoughts or memories of her.
– Jack Cameron
TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.