Twenty-seven year old Emmalee Masker sat in a car with a seventy-one year old man she had known for the better part of a decade. It was January 16th. The weekend. They sat in the parking lot in the 4800 block of Tacoma Mall Blvd. The one with a Mexican restaurant on one side and Chuck E. Cheese on the other.
Over the years the man had given her money when she needed it. But the man was out of money. In fact he had recently declared bankruptcy. This was apparently too much for the man. He pulled a pistol and shot Emmalee multiple times. Then he shot himself in the head.
Emmalee Masker was dead when police arrived. She was the third Tacoma homicide this year and the second to be shot and killed. Neither Emmalee or the man who killed her were married. The details of their relationship are likely known only to them. Anything else is speculation.
Emmalee liked turtles. She would post images of them that she liked on Pinterest. She did the same thing with interesting nail designs. It’s difficult to get a feel for what a person was like in life simply by looking at what they left behind online, but for those who knew and loved Emmalee she has left behind so much more. There is an echo left when a loved one dies. It is the sort of thing that is hard to fully grasp until one has the misfortune to experience it. Like everyone, Emmalee was more than simply what we find of her. And like everyone who is murdered, we have lost the chance to find out what more she could have been.
As always, the comments section is reserved for friends and family of Emmalee who might want to share thoughts or memories of her. All comments are moderated and approved by me before they appear.
– Jack Cameron
Steven Dedeaux Jr began his 31st and final birthday at an after hours club in the 3800 block of South Yakima Avenue. The club had two armed guards. They patted down everyone as they came in. Steven was inside the club and armed. Some patrons were allowed to carry weapons, but if the bouncers did not know them, weapons were not allowed.
Around 3:30am Steven noticed that someone he knew was having trouble at the door. The security guards were detaining him after finding a weapon on him. They had gotten one of his wrists in handcuffs when Steven yelled at them to let the man go. When they didn’t, Steven drew his gun and pointed it at them threatening to shoot if they did not let the man go. Instead the security guards opened fire, shooting Steven. One of the security guards was shot in the hand. The man in one cuff ran off.
Steven was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was later died becoming the second homicide victim this year.
This was not the first incident at this after-hours motorcycle club. Michael Ward Jr. was killed here back in 2014.
Unfortunately I was not able to find very much information on Steven Dedeaux Jr. This is often the case with homicide victims and one of the reasons that the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew the victim and want to share thoughts or memories of him.
– Jack Cameron
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.