Tag Archives: Tacoma Homicide

12th Tacoma Homicide of 2019 Gardner Bee Chittenden

Gardner Bee Chittenden

On the afternoon of July 10th, 18-year-old Gardner Bee Chittenden was with a 22-year-old friend in the 8000 block of South Thompson Ave. It was just after 3:30pm when that 22-year-old fatally shot Gardner. Gardner was taken to the hospital. His friend was arrested. Gardner later died of his injuries becoming the twelfth homicide this year. His friend was later released after the prosecutor declined to press charges pending further investigation, saying it was an accidental shooting.

The friends and family of Gardner Bee Chittenden did not get a long time to spend with him in this life, but by all accounts Gardner put his all into living it. He was a skater who never let a skinned knee or a bruised elbow stop him from getting back on the board. He was close with his mother and protected his sister. Gardner Bee Chittenden was a teenager you remember.

Firearms are part of our culture in this country. All too often, our indulgence in our culture makes us forget the deadly and permanent nature of a gun.

As always the comment section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Gardner and want to share thoughts or memories of him. There is a GoFundMe set up for his family at this link.

– Jack

11th Tacoma Homicide of 2019 Jennifer Forsman

Jennifer Forsman

The twelve-year-old girl could hear her parents arguing on the early Sunday morning of June 9th. This wasn’t new. Her parents had divorced two and half years ago. They slept in separate bedrooms in a house in the 500 block of East 75th Street. Her and two of her older sisters all lived under one roof. Her father was upset that her mother was in a new relationship. By 6:15am, she’d gone out to the living room where they were fighting. At some point her father got a gun. He shot her mother once in the arm and once in the head and shot himself. The twelve year old girl took her siblings to the neighbor’s house and called 9-1-1. Police arrived and found that the bullet had ricocheted off her father’s head. He could make a full recovery.  Her mother on the other hand was dead. 37-year-old Jennifer Forsman is the eleventh Tacoma homicide this year.

The man who shot Jennifer was arrested and successfully hung himself while in custody four weeks later.

Jennifer was the mother of four daughters, ages 12-19. She worked as a barista at a University Place Starbucks where she’d been for over a decade. Family members say she was always a very positive person who tended to see the best in people. She was well liked and a good mother.

Whenever I tell people that I write about Tacoma homicides they tend to respond by saying, “A lot of gang shootings, right?” But the truth is that situations like the one that led to Jennifer Forsman’s murder are much more common when it comes to homicide. Domestic violence is one of the biggest dangers we tend to ignore.

I don’t know why Jennifer and her ex-husband lived together. It may have been as simple as the rent in Tacoma rising too fast for either to afford places of their own. Perhaps they wanted to live together for the children. Whatever the case, it is a tragedy that there wasn’t more help available for her. Domestic situations are never simple and solutions are rarely easy.*

I can’t imagine what the Forsmans’ children and families are going through. There is a fundraiser set up for the Forsman family at this link.

The comments section is reserved for friends and family of Jennifer Forsman who might want to share thoughts or memories of her. All comments are moderated and approved before they post.

-Jack

*If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence contact the Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or click here.

Tenth Tacoma Homicide of 2019: Tyree Jevon Gipson-Faison

Tyree Gipson

On June 3rd at around 2:30am in the 3800 block of South Yakima, Tyree Jevon Gipson-Faison was shot. When police arrived they found a crowd standing around. Some were giving aid to Tyree. Paramedics arrived and transported him to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he died about an hour later from his wounds becoming the tenth Tacoma homicide this year.

There was not much more information about this incident that I could find. No arrests have been made as far as I can tell. The homicide itself received very little coverage and all too often, I don’t have much more to work with than what has been reported. It’s important to note that there is no such thing as a minor homicide. Every murder shatters multiple lives that are changed forever due to the sudden loss. I want to write more but I don’t have more information to share.

I also was unable to find much information about Tyree online. Quite often the only information I’m able to discover is what I can find online and so I have to rely on friends and family to fill in the picture of who he was. This is what the comments section is for.

Tyree’s death is the second homicide this year in this location and the fifth homicide within a block of this location since 2014. After hours clubs in this area have been a problem for years.

Typically by June we have five homicides in the city. This year it’s ten. We are losing too many Tacomans to homicidal violence.

As I mentioned, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of the victim who want to share thoughts or memories of Tyree.

– Jack Cameron

Ninth Tacoma Homicide of 2019: Phyllis Hamilton

Phyllis Hamilton

52-year-old Phyllis Hamilton lived with her two sons (ages 26 and 27) in a house in the 1400 Block of South Madison Street. She was an avid reader and absolutely devoted to her sons.

On the evening of April 29th, something happened inside the house to set off her 27-year-old son. He burst into his brother’s room carrying a shotgun and wearing a bandoleer of shotgun shells. His brother was so afraid that he climbed out the window onto the roof and ran down the alley. The oldest son then set off in his mother’s Cadillac SUV trying to chase down his brother firing at least once.

Police pulled over the SUV and arrested the man. Then they headed back to his mother’s home where they discovered Phyllis Hamilton dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Phyllis is the ninth Tacoma homicide this year.

Phyllis was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness. Friends say she was incredibly sweet.

If there is a pattern in the sharp increase in homicides this year, it is the sheer senselessness of the killings. Again and again I find myself writing about a crime that simply should not have happened.

As always, the comment section is moderated and reserved for friends and family who knew Phyllis and want to share memories.

– Jack Cameron

Eighth Tacoma Homicide of 2019: James ‘Jimmy’ Mureness

James Mureness

In the early morning hours of April 23rd, 43-year-old James ‘Jimmy’ Mureness was at a bus stop in the 2900 block of East D Street with a friend when a 23-year-old man in a hoodie approached them. Hours earlier the man had fired multiple shots into his ceiling. Police were called, but he had left by then. The man in the hoodie said nothing to Jimmy and his friend and left, then came back moments later and shot them both before running away.

Jimmy’s friend survived. Jimmy wasn’t so lucky. Jimmy Mureness is the eighth Tacoma homicide this year.

Police caught up with the shooter later that same evening. He shot himself in the forehead, but only received minor injuries from the shot. After being treated for his injuries, he was arrested and charged with first degree murder and first degree attempted murder.

Statements made by the shooter were inconsistent and contradictory, calling his mental well being into question, but whatever the explanation, the loss of life is still devastating for his friends and family.

Jimmy’s family lives in upstate New York. They have a GoFundMe set up to offset costs of having his body and belongings shipped back east. You can donate here:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/memorial-for-james-mureness

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

– Jack Cameron

Seventh Tacoma Homicide of 2019: Joshua Everman

Joshua Everman

It was April 18 just after 3:00 am when Joshua Everman’s 31-year-old fiancé called 9-1-1 from their apartment in the 1200 block of Pearl Street. A month earlier she’d been charged with domestic violence 4th degree assault. That resulted in a restraining order that had been lifted just one week before her 9-1-1 call. In her call she said that Josh had shot himself during an argument they had about a gun.

Police spoke to his fiancé. She said they had been arguing and she had gone to deal with their 4-month-old baby when he shot himself. Her hands were covered in blood. Josh was on the bed in the bedroom. He had been shot in the left side of the head. But he was right-handed. There were no powder burns around the wound indicating the gun was fired from at least a foot away. And then there were the two bullets lodged in the wall at the same trajectory as the bullet that had hit him.

Paramedics took Josh to the hospital where he later died becoming Tacoma’s seventh homicide this year. His fiancé was arrested and charged with first degree murder.

I spent some time on Josh’s Facebook page. There are dozens of photos of him, his fiancé, and their two kids camping, traveling, and having adventures. It’s clear that their life together wasn’t all bad. It’s stunning to think that I’m looking at a murderer and her victim. And I can’t help but think of the children. One four and the other four months. There’s a senselessness to this. It didn’t need to happen.

When one is in a domestic violence situation it is easy to rationalize. It’s not that bad. Others have it worse. It’s just a rough patch. The cemetery has many people in it who thought exactly the same way.

It’s impossible to overstate the loss of Joshua Everman to his family, to his friends, to his children. It’s something that will echo throughout their lives.

As always, the comment section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Josh and want to share memories of him. My thoughts go out to those impacted by his murder.

  • Jack Cameron

Fifth Tacoma Homicide of 2019: Gerald Antonio Bryant Jr.

Gerald Bryant

Thirty-four-year-old Gerald Antonio Bryant Jr. and a 21-year-old friend of his were drinking and play fighting in front of his friend’s apartment. The play fighting soon became argumentative. His friend’s mother, noticing her son’s level of intoxication asked him to come back into his apartment, but both he and Gerald remained angry at each other. Over his mother’s and brother’s objections, the man grabbed the keys to his Volkswagen Jetta and ran outside. He got into the vehicle and then ran Gerald over multiple times before fleeing.

Gerald was taken to a local hospital in critical condition and placed on life support where he remained for the few days until he died becoming the fifth Tacoma homicide this year. The man who ran him over was arrested a few days after the incident and has been charged with second degree murder.

Gerald graduated from the same high school as I did. Growing up, he worked on cars and did yard work with his grandfather. He was shy as a kid until he got into sports. Basketball, football, wrestling – he tried almost everything. He developed a larger than life personality with a smile that was infectious. Shortly after high school, his first child was born. Over the next few years he’d have six more. No matter what he was up to, he did his best to make sure he had Dad time. If a friend’s car broke down, he’d be with him under the hood. He’s gone now thanks to a senseless murder, but those who knew him will never forget him.

As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew and loved Gerald. If they want to share thoughts or stories of Gerald, this is a place to do it.

  • Jack Cameron