Ten blocks down South 38th Street from where Marvin Plunkett was shot and killed, Tacoma had its fifth homicide of 2011. It was the early afternoon of April 5th. Three men rang the doorbell of a house near the corner of East J Street and South 38th Street. One of those men was 19-year-old Jamarr Johnson. When no one answered, they walked around to the sliding glass door and shattered it. The three men entered the house. Jamarr Johnson went upstairs possibly with the others. A door to the bedroom was shut. Johnson tried the door. It was locked. The deafening sound of gunfire erupted from inside the bedroom. Moments later, Jamarr was dead from multiple gunshot wounds.
The other two men left quickly, one of them going out an upstairs window. Police arrived on the scene and quickly tracked down one of the two remaining intruders. A third man remained at large. The police talked to the homeowner. He told them that he heard the doorbell but did not answer and when they tried to get in through the sliding glass door, he locked himself in the bedroom. When he saw that they were trying to come into the bedroom, he fired his weapon.
At the time of this writing there are still a lot of things that are unknown or at least not released to the public. We do not know the names or ages of the other individuals involved. We don’t know if they knew each other. What is known is that a homeowner had reason to fear for his life and used a firearm to protect himself and his home.
It’s unfortunate that someone lost his life, but it’s fairly clear that he put himself into a situation where he could be killed. The East Side of Tacoma has been among the worst areas of the city for years and the odds of your average East Side homeowner having a gun are pretty good. There are those who might say the intruder got what he deserved. Personally I wouldn’t go that far, but of all the possible outcomes, this one is better than others. In other words, I feel better writing about the death of the intruder than the death of the homeowner.