44-year-old LaMont ‘Monty’ Rushton had been homeless for a while, but like most homeless individuals he was trying to get it together. His six-year-old son was being raised by Monty’s mother. He wanted to get him back. He thought that maybe he would go up to Alaska and work on a fishing boat. Dangerous work, but everyone knew stories of someone who knew someone who went there for a season and came back with thousands. Maybe he’d make friends up there. He was a friendly guy. People tended to like him. This was just temporary.
It was Thursday, December 14th, a little after 11:30pm in downtown Tacoma. Monty was walking near South 26th and A Street when he spotted a young man taking a smoke break and asked him for a smoke. The young man handed him a smoke. Monty thanked the young man and walked on until he was confronted by a 29-year-old man. It was dark. The young man was at least 30 feet away. He heard Monty say, “Please don’t.” It appeared to the young man like the other man had challenged Monty to a fight and Monty had declined. Monty wasn’t a fighter. The other man ran away.
Monty headed towards the young man asking for help. Not realizing Monty was injured the young man initially ignored him. When he got closer the young man realized Monty had been stabbed multiple times in the chest and leg. The young man and his coworkers contacted paramedics and tried to help him, but Monty died a half hour after getting to the hospital becoming Tacoma’s fifteenth homicide this year.
A few days later, Monty’s killer was arrested at a nearby homeless camp. A large knife was found in the man’s tent. This is the second homeless killing in downtown Tacoma in the last month. And with any luck, the last killing this year.
As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of Monty to share memories or thoughts about Monty. All comments are moderated and approved before they appear.
It was just after 9:30pm on Saturday, November 19th. In a parking garage in the 700 block of Commerce Street in downtown Tacoma, two transient acquaintances were talking. One was 33-year-old Jiskoko Sha. Friends called him Jish. The talking became an argument. The argument became physical. At some point the other man pulled a knife. A short time later a passerby found Jiskoko bleeding from a stab wound. He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he later died, becoming Tacoma’s 11th homicide this year.
Police soon arrested the 36-year-old man who stabbed him, but prosecutors declined to press charges and released him pending further investigation.
The parking garage in which this happened is somewhat notorious for criminal activity though this is the first homicide to occur there.
I have been writing about homicides in Tacoma for eleven years and yet I still have difficulty fully explaining just what happens when someone in your life is murdered. Part of the reason for this site is to add a little more depth beyond the news headlines and to remind us that this isn’t just a homeless person getting killed in a bad area. This is a world ending. The world of Jiskoko Shaw is over. The impact of that echoes through the lives of his loved ones. Each of them feels a hole that cannot ever be fully patched. And Jish has been denied any possible future. His Tacoma Story ends here. But his memory remains. And who he was will not be forgotten by those who loved him.
As always the comment section is moderated and reserved for family and friends of Jiskoko Shaw who want to share memories or thoughts about him and his life.
– Jack Cameron
It was 8pm on Tuesday July 24th in the 4400 block of Portland Avenue. 30-year-old Francisco Beiza was walking down the street. Charging papers say that he had talked on the phone earlier with a 23-year-old man who claimed Francisco owed him money. The phone conversation had not gone well. Now the 23-year-old man showed up in an SUV with a group of others ranging in ages from 16-30. The man got out of the vehicle. The man and Francisco got into a scuffle. The scuffle ended with the man being stabbed. Three individuals then got out of the SUV. Two had guns. Francisco ran.
Inside the nearby Eastside Community Church they were having a bible study. The gunfire they heard was so loud that they initially thought it was in the building. Francisco Beiza died on the scene from gunshot wounds. Police found twenty-two 9mm shell casings and a knife near his body. Francisco was the eighth Tacoma homicide this year.
The 23-year-old man was taken to Allenmore Hospital by the individuals in the SUV. He later died during surgery. Six individuals were arrested in connection with the death of Francisco Beiza.
Francisco had a three-year-old daughter who lost her mother in 2015. I was unable to find much else about Francisco online, but here is what I know from covering all types of homicides in Tacoma for the last eleven years. There are people who knew and loved Francisco. There are people who will never be the same because of his murder. He will be missed. And not soon forgotten by those who care. Any killing is a tragedy and sometimes that tragedy hits home.
My thoughts go out to all of the friends and family involved in this. It’s not easy for anyone. If any friends or family have a photo of Francisco they’d like to send for this article, please send it to email@example.com.
As always the comments section is reserved for friends and family of Francisco who want to share memories or thoughts about him. All comments are moderated and approved before they are posted.
– Jack Cameron
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
It was around 4pm on February 1st when Tacoma police officers arrived at the home of Otto Youngers in the 3500 block of South Wilkeson Street in the Proctor neighborhood. They were there to check on the 78-year-old man after getting a call from his son’s friend. The friend said that Otto’s son had texted him earlier in the day saying he shot his father. His son had been behaving strangely lately. Inside they found Otto Youngers dead from a gunshot to the face. His son had a shell casing in his pocket and kept talking about his father being a ‘monster’, a ‘nazi’, and the person responsible for killing JFK. Otto Youngers becomes the fourth Tacoma homicide this year.
Otto’s 53-year-old son has been arrested for his murder. Though they mostly kept to themselves, Otto and his son were well known and liked in the neighborhood. Neighbors say Otto’s son was behaving strangely in recent weeks. It is clear that Otto’s death is the result of a combination of deadly weapons and significant mental illness.
This is the second parent being killed by their son in less than a year. As the fourth homicide this year, it’s also a significant increase in the rate of homicides from recent years. Typically we have about one homicide a month. At our current rate we are over double that.
As always, the comments section is monitored. Each comment is approved before it appears. The comments section is reserved for friends and family who want to share thoughts or memories of Otto.
It was just after 1:00am early Saturday morning on January 27th. Fifteen-year-old Hector Gonzales and his 15-year-old best friend waited in the alley behind his best friend’s girlfriend’s house in the 5100 block of South Oakes Street. Hector had a baseball bat. The plan was that his best friend’s girlfriend had invited an acquaintance over. They knew this acquaintance had marijuana. Their plan was to rob him and take it.
The acquaintance came to the house expecting to have sex with the girl, but when he got there his gun fell out of his pocket. The girl told him to leave and texted her boyfriend to warn him about the gun. The acquaintance exited the house and was attacked. He was hit several times with the bat before pulling out his gun and firing one shot. The shot hit Hector Gonzales in the chest. The acquaintance ran away tossing the gun in some nearby bushes. Fifteen-year-old Hector Gonzales died at the scene becoming Tacoma’s third Tacoma homicide of 2018. Prosecutors have declined to file charges against Hector’s killer as it was deemed self-defense.
Whenever a teenager is murdered regardless of the circumstances it is a tragedy. In this case, it is difficult to see anything but tragedy. It is every parent’s nightmare. There is no one in this story you want to imagine your child being. And for four families, it is not imagination, but hard, cruel reality. Teenagers are not fully formed people. They have not figured out who they are yet. We do not know and will never know who Hector Gonzales would have turned out to be. Hector’s family has started a GoFundMe campaign in his name.
As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim. The comment section is moderated and I personally approve each comment before it shows. If you are a friend or family of the victim and would like to get in touch with me privately, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Jack Cameron
38-year-old Jeremy Martin returned home in 1400 block of South 37th Street around 1:30am on December 5th . Jeremy was shot multiple times shortly after arriving home. Someone in a large puffy coat was seen leaving the home shortly after the gunshots. That person got into a waiting vehicle and left. Jeremy was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he died hours later becoming the eleventh homicide this year for the city of Tacoma.
This is the extent of information available on the last hours of Jeremy Martin. I had waited in the hopes that more information would come to light, but sadly, none has. Pierce County Crime Stoppers is offering $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the individual or individuals responsible for this murder. Anyone with information on this murder is asked to call 800-222-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous.
Jeremy would have turned 39 on Christmas Day. In a Facebook post made less than a month before his death, Jeremy wrote: “If I die tommorrow I did everything I said I was gonna do except a couple of things lol!” It’s clear that Jeremy did his best to live his life to the fullest. It is tragic that his life has been cut short.
Killings where there is nearly no information are in some ways the most heartbreaking. For most, this is merely another homicide in a city that has about a dozen homicides a year. But for family and friends, especially during this season, their world has changed in a way not thought possible. It simultaneously feels unreal and all too real. The lack of information about something so personally catastrophic can be maddening. Jeremy Martin now lives in their memories. His friends and family have my deepest sympathies.
As always, the comments section is moderated with each comment needing approval and is reserved for the friends and family of the victim to share thoughts or memories of Jeremy with the rest of us.
Here’s hoping this is the last of the Tacoma homicides for 2017.
– Jack Cameron