Around 10:30pm on July 18th Tacoma Police received a tip about three young men in an SUV confronting people about their gang affiliation. About twenty minutes later 24-year-old Robert Doss II and a 20-year-old woman had parked near the intersection of South 14th and L Street in a 2004 Ford Explorer. They were eating when the SUV pulled up. The man in the passenger seat of the SUV asked them where they were from. Robert told them he was from Hilltop. The driver pulled the SUV slightly forward. The man in the backseat, a hooded sweatshirt over his face opened fire and drove away.
Robert was hit in the chest. His female companion was hit in the hand. She managed to drive to the nearby St. Joseph’s Medical Center where Robert was pronounced dead and she was given medical treatment.
The three men were found six days later in a house in Graham and have been arrested for their part in Robert’s murder. A surveillance camera at the East Side convenience store helped identify the driver. The driver admitted that they were looking for rival gang members to attack in retaliation for a shooting in May. The driver claimed that Robert was responsible, but there’s no evidence that Doss was in a gang much less responsible for any violence whatsoever.
This is the seventh Tacoma homicide this year. Typically in the city of Tacoma we have about one homicide a month. But we’ve had three in the last week. It’s worth noting though that though this shooting occurred on Hilltop this is only the second homicide in the past year to take place in that neighborhood. This is a marked difference from the violent days of the 1990s.
When violent crime increases it’s easy for the human experience to be lost in the statistics and the law. Of course this is impossible if a loved one is the victim of a homicide. Robert was a security guard at a downtown fast food restaurant. He was a good guy with a great smile. And he will be missed by those who knew and loved him in a way that most media will ignore and I will fail to do justice to.
As always, the comment section is reserved for those who knew Robert who might want to share thoughts or memories of him. Comments are moderated and approved before they are posted.
– Jack Cameron
In the early morning hours of Saturday April 16th, 23-year-old Marquel Bradley was standing on near East 35th and L Street with a group of other people. At around 3:45am, a couple in a Dodge Avenger showed up. Survelience video shows that someone fired a shot at the car. One of the people in the car got out and shot into the group of people. There were at least 71 shots fired over the course of a minute. When the shooting was over, the couple in the vehicle drove a few blocks before their car with twelve bullet holes, a flat tire, and a steaming engine stopped working. They were soon arrested. Back at the scene of the shooting Marquel Bradley who was unarmed and had fired no shots at all had been shot in the head. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical in critical condition.
Marquel Bradley died ten days later. He was a family man with a six-year-old daughter and a fiancé with another child on the way. He would walk his daughter to and from school every day. Friends and family say he was funny. He had a real presence when he walked into the room.
Marquel is the sixth Tacoma homicide this year and the second homicide this year on Tacoma’s East Side. East Side residents have been fighting a battle for their neighborhoods for most of my life. It’s an area full of lower middle class residents who want what’s best for the community. Recently the community came up with plans for a new East Side Community Center. It will include water slides, a recording studio, a teaching kitchen, and a 300-person social hall. You can find out more about this at http://www.ImagineEastSide.org
We cannot bring Marquel Bradley back, but we can help make sure his children and our own grow up with a better East Side.
As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for friends and family of Marquel. Marquel’s mother has put up a GoFundMe page to help with the costs of his funeral and his young family. Here’s the link: https://www.gofundme.com/2fcegmdv
– Jack Cameron
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.
Spring has taken hold here in Tacoma. This weekend it’s supposed to be in the 70’s. Perfect weather for walking to the local convenience store and picking up whatever treats strike your fancy. Friday May 1st, 19-year-old Brandon Morris had done just that with his girlfriend, Jordan and a couple of friends at a convenience store near South 45th and South Union. They were walking down an alley when an SUV pulled up and fired eight shots. Brandon was protective of his girlfriend and friends and was the only one shot. He died five days later becoming Tacoma’s third homicide this year.
Brandon was going to Bates Technical College and studying to be a diesel mechanic. He was close with his family and known to be protective of those he cared for.
Tacoma Police have arrested a 23-year-old gang member for the murder. Neither Brandon or any of his friends with him that day are associated with any gangs. It is believed that the shooting was a random act of violence or a case of mistaken identity. The motivation hardly matters as it’s clear that this was a senseless act.
Drive-by shootings are relatively rare in Tacoma these days. It’s rarer still that they result in a homicide. While there is a very real gang presence in Tacoma, it is a far cry from the 1990s when drive-by shootings happened almost every hour of every day. We literally had hundreds of drive-by shootings a year. It’s good that our crime rate has gone down so much, but these statistics fail to make the loss of life that does occur any less devastating for friends and family of the victim.
As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim who might want to share any thoughts or memories of Brandon. The section is moderated by me and I approve comments before they are made public.
My thoughts go out to Brandon’s friends and family.
– Jack Cameron