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
It was a little after 1:00am early Sunday morning when neighbors heard the gunshots. Police arrived around 1:15am near the corner of East T and East Morton Street. They found 30-year-old Preston Stafford shot in the abdomen. Preston was transported to a local hospital where he died five hours later.
It turns out Preston had been waiting for a ride. He had contacted a woman for a ride, but when the car arrived, her boyfriend was driving. Her boyfriend said something about Preston owing him $50 and shot him.
Preston becomes the fourteenth Tacoma homicide this year and the third homicide this year on Tacoma’s East Side. Contrary to initial reports, Preston was not homeless at the time of his murder. The following day Tacoma Police arrested the 40-year-old woman and the 38-year-old man in connection with his murder.
Preston was well liked and enjoyed joking around and supporting the Seahawks. In other words, he was a lot like many of us.
As always, the comments section is reserved for those who want to share memories or thoughts about Preston. The comment section is moderated and inappropriate comments will not be accepted.
It is my hope that this is the last homicide I have to write about this year.
– Jack Cameron
Last Monday night 18-year-old Elijah Crawford and two friends were sitting in a car in the 1800 block of East 44th Street a little after 11:30pm. Someone approached the car and opened fire. When police arrived minutes later, they found Elijah had been killed becoming the tenth Tacoma homicide this year. A 20-year-old friend was wounded and taken to a nearby hospital. The third friend was physically uninjured.
Elijah graduated from Lincoln High School earlier and married his high school sweetheart. He was a popular and fun loving student who liked wrestling and photography. It’s genuinely difficult to find a photo where he isn’t smiling. A former teacher of his learned of his death and wrote about Elijah and what Tacoma has lost with his passing. You can read it here. The News Tribune also has an excellent article on Elijah Crawford. Here’s the link for that. (Read it now as their articles are unavailable online after 90 days without a subscription.)
This shooting was one of three within the space of a few hours in Tacoma during Monday night and Tuesday morning. Around 3:40am near North 13th and Lawrence Street a drunk driver fired ten shots at University of Puget Sound security guards thankfully hitting no one. Also around 6:15am this morning 26-year-old Steven Speakman was found with fatal gunshot wounds on S. 10th and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. This is an unusual amount of violence in such a short amount of time.
As always, the comments section is moderated by me and reserved for those who want to share thoughts, memories, and other remembrances of Elijah and his life that was all too short.
At the time of this writing, a suspect has not been arrested or identified.
There is a Peace Walk scheduled for tonight (Saturday November 7th) near where Elijah and his friend were shot. It starts at 5pm at the Family Investment Center Park at 1724 East 44th Street in Salishan.
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
Within the first twenty-four hours of 2012, Tacoma had its first homicide of the year. A month earlier, 25-year-old Michelle Davis had broken up with her boyfriend. Since that time, she’d told friends and relatives that he’d been stalking her. She was afraid enough that she stayed over at her sister’s house on East 84th and D Street on New Year’s Day. Around 11:30pm her ex-boyfriend got into the house and shot Michelle Davis while she slept. Michelle’s sister escaped through a window with a young child. Her sister’s boyfriend was shot eleven times and is currently in the hospital. Her ex then left the house. He was found in the school yard of Larchmont Elementary the next morning with a self inflicted gunshot wound.
Tacoma’s East Side has always had its share of violence, but the truth is that this sort of thing can happen in any neighborhood. I don’t know the particulars of Michelle’s relationship with her ex. I know that volatile relationships are all too common regardless of who you are or where you live. Getting away from the situation is the best thing you can do. From the sounds of things, that’s exactly what Michelle was trying to do.
In Seattle, on Christmas Eve, a school teacher was killed by her violent ex. These domestic homicides are becoming all too common. Sadly, there isn’t a lot to be done about it. Restraining orders won’t stop someone with homicidal urges from killing. They help get them arrested, but that’s about all they do.
Relatives say that Michelle had an eight-year-old daughter, which makes this all the more tragic. As always, the comments section below is reserved for those who knew Michelle and want to post their memories or condolences.
– Jack Cameron