Tag Archives: Homeless homicide

23rd Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Diego Escalante

On the night of his death Diego Escalante was living in a homeless encampment near South 38th and McKinley Avenue. He was a friendly guy who had worked as a cook. He was funny. And he loved to share stories from the bible that he had memorized. At 1:30am on September 25, 2021 he was sitting in a chair when an intoxicated 21-year-old approached him and shot him three times. Diego died on the scene.

When the mother of the 21-year-old heard about the murder she had suspicions her son was responsible. They lived nine blocks from the homeless encampment. Her son had purchased a pistol and he had frequently talked about how he felt homeless people should be killed. She contacted police with her suspicions and her son was charged with first degree murder.

Diego’s killer did not know him and had no previous contact with him. By all account Diego was a random victim of a mentally deranged intoxicated young man who had all too easy access to deadly weapons and violent urges. His death was a senseless act of violence that ripped a hole in the lives of all who knew and loved Diego.

The animosity towards homeless individuals is just as misguided as any other form of bigotry.

As always, the comment section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Diego and want to share thoughts or memories of him.


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20th Tacoma Homicide of 2021: Rikki Lynn Millerup

On the morning of September 6, 2021 a 49-year-old man with severe mental illness entered a gym in the 9700 block of Pacific Avenue. He asked about a membership and then attacked the clerk before leaving. Shortly after that altercation, about a block away he encountered 40-year-old Rikki Lynn Millerup, a homeless woman who stayed in a tent near there. He cut her throat then stabbed her ten more times. The man then stole her wallet and debit card from her backpack. A friend of Rikki’s saw her in her tent that morning but assumed she was passed out until he saw her in the same position hours later and called authorities. She was dead when first responders arrived becoming the twentieth Tacoma homicide of 2021.

Rikki’s killer was found hiding in bushes shortly after.

I was unable to find much information about Rikki Lynn Millerup. This is fairly common when the victim is homeless. People say she was a nice person.  In situations like this I’m forced to rely on thoughts and memories of people who knew the victim to fill in what isn’t available. This is why the comment section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Rikki and want to share the stories of the person they’ve lost.

– Jack Cameron

TacomaStories is always free. If you’d like to support our work, you can donate at this link. Thank you.

Sixth Tacoma Homicide of 2017: Oscar Blackwater

blackwaterHis name was Oscar Blackwater. He was 74 years old. He was one of Tacoma’s homeless population. A friend went looking for him Monday morning. His body was found on a trail in the 3500 block of Pacific Avenue. An autopsy would reveal that he died from blunt force trauma to the head and chest. He was beaten to death on the streets of Tacoma.

Oscar’s death is the sixth homicide in Tacoma this year. His murder is the latest incident in a series of assaults and robberies on Tacoma’s homeless population. One victim stated that he was not only beaten and robbed of valuables but they also stole his pants.

The homeless are among our most vulnerable citizens. Tacoma’s homelessness problem is so significant that the city declared a State of Emergency. New efforts to create more sustainable and safe homeless camps has met with mixed results so far.

At the time of this writing police have no information on the suspect or suspects responsible for Oscar’s murder. Anyone with information on Oscar’s death is asked to contact the Tacoma Police Department.

As always, the comments section is monitored and reserved for those who knew Oscar and want to share memories of him.

UPDATE: CrimeStoppers is offering $1,000 reward to information that leads to the conviction of Oscar’s killer. Anyone with information is urged to call 800-222-TIPS (8477).

UPDATE 2: Oscar’s family is trying to bring his body back home to Arizona. They’ve started a GoFundMe to make this happen. https://www.gofundme.com/bring-home-oscar-blackwater

– Jack Cameron