Tag Archives: Tacoma Homicides

First Tacoma Homicide of 2014 Charles (Chucky) Williams

chuckywillsIt was supposed to be a celebration of the life of a recent homicide victim. Unfortunately, it would also be the location of Tacoma’s first homicide of 2014. This Friday would have been Jalon Bea’s 18th birthday. Saturday night, friends of his had gathered at a nightclub in the 2600 block of 6th Ave. The party broke up around 1:30am on Sunday morning. What happened next was captured on video. Someone fired seven quick shots and ran as people scattered. Nineteen year old Charles Williams was killed in the gunfire. His friends called him Chucky.

Charles was Jalon Bea’s cousin. Police are still looking for Chucky’s murderer. They’re asking everyone who was there to contact the Tacoma Police Department immediately. I’ve posted a link to the video below. Anyone who was there or who recognizes anyone should contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. There is currently a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer.

The killing of Charles Williams marks the first homicide in 126 days. Directly after Charles’ murder there was talk online of Tacoma’s old reputation of being a cesspool of gang violence. This reputation was well earned from the crime-filled days of the early 1990s, but it’s hardly an accurate account of present day Tacoma.

Unfortunately, violent deaths like that of Charles Williams is part of living in a city. It shouldn’t happen, but it does. We can only take comfort in the fact that it doesn’t happen often.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Chucky. Every comment is moderated.

–          Jack Cameron

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Eighth Tacoma Homicide of 2013: Jalon Bea

Around 4pm last Friday, 17-year-old Jalon Bea was near South 43rd and South G Street with a group of people. There was a shot. Jalon was hit in the chest. His father was able to make it to St. Joe’s Hospital before Jalon died from the gunshot wound.

Jalon was a student at Stadium High School and the eighth Tacoma homicide victim this year. He was the first teenager homicide this year. The investigation at the time of this writing is still ongoing and little information has been released.

It’s always a tragedy when someone so young is killed. As always, the comments section is moderated and reserved for those who knew Jalon and want to share memories of him.

I will write more information when and if there is more released.

Update: A 19-year-old man has turned himself into police for the shooting of Jalon Bea. A rally to celebrate the life of Jalon is being held at Lincoln Park on Tuesday October 16th.

Update 2: Charging documents state that Jalon was standing with a group of people who were passing around a .38 Revolver. One of the people in the group believed he had unloaded the gun and was playing around with it. He pointed it at Jalon, and pulled the trigger. The shooting was accidental and a tragic reminder that guns must always be treated as if they are loaded. The 19-year-old shooter has been charged with first degree manslaughter.

– Jack Cameron

Third Tacoma Homicide of 2013 Donald Phily

A little after midnight on Friday March 29th police received phone calls reporting gun shots near South 72nd and Pacific. At the nearby Morgan motel they found 42-year-old Donald Phily dead from gunshot wounds.

At the time of this writing there is still very little information being released to the public. There are probably a couple of reasons for this. One is that in the first few hours of a homicide investigation the police like to keep information quiet because it helps find the person responsible. (If someone has information that the news never reported then they know that person might be valuable to the investigation.)

The other reason that there is very little news coverage of this homicide is that the Morgan is known for frequent criminal activity and while crime in Tacoma is nowhere near the levels that it used to be, someone getting killed on the South Side of Tacoma in a cheap motel room isn’t what some news outlets would call ‘newsworthy’.

I do my best to report every homicide that happens in Tacoma because every death affects friends and family of the victim. They’re all important deaths. If I had the time and the resources, I’d cover more than just homicides.

My heart goes out to the friends and family of Donald Phily and I hope his killer is brought to justice. As always, the comments section is reserved for the victim’s friends and family to share their memories of Donald. These victims of homicides may be gone, but we can preserve the memories of them for others because each of them is a Tacoma Story.

– Jack Cameron

Second Tacoma Homicide of 2013 Sara Barrett

SaraBarrettSara Barrett was putting her life back together. She had three children, all boys. Her youngest just turned twenty-one. She had recently become a grandmother. She was also estranged from her husband of over twenty years. On Wednesday morning she posted on Facebook, Good Morning and Happy Hump day everyone. Today is a good day and will be an even better night :))))’  Before the next morning, 42-year-old Sara Barrett would be found dead in a motel room at the Motel 6 off of South 72nd Street and her estranged husband would be arrested after making a phone call to a local TV station where he confessed to her murder and then leading the police on a chase that ended across the Narrows Bridge.

Sara is the second Tacoma homicide of 2013. Her marriage had been on and off for last few years. In 2007 her husband tried to smother her with a pillow. There were two restraining orders filed during that time but they were denied when Sara didn’t show up for court.

In many ways the death of Sara Barrett is a textbook case of domestic violence. These situations are difficult. It’s easy for some to say she simply needed to get away from her abuser, but he wasn’t just that to her. He was her husband of over twenty years. He was the father of her children. It’s not easy to see that person as a deadly danger. Sara seems to be someone who always saw the best in people. It’s likely one of the things that made people love her. She will be missed.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Sara and want to share memories of her. The purpose of writing these articles is so that the people who are taken from us in this city are remembered.

Here’s hoping we can go a long time before I write another one.

–       Jack Cameron

Fifth Tacoma Homicide of 2012 – Stanley Howard

In the early morning hours of Wednesday May 9th, 56-year-old Stanley Howard had an argument with a 46-year-old acquaintance near South 19th and M Street. Later, Stanley went to the man’s house with a knife. The other man also had  a knife and ended up stabbing Stanley in the chest. He was only a few houses away from his last known address.

This was the fifth homicide for the city of Tacoma this year. Police arrested a man in connection with this murder shortly after it happened but after investigating, they’ve chosen not to file charges as it appears he acted in self-defense. The Hilltop neighborhood was once famous for its violent crime but in recent years has become a thriving community full of new shops, bars, and other businesses.

As always, the comments section is reserved for those who knew Stanley. I moderate all comments and try to keep things civil. Here’s hoping the next homicide I have to write up isn’t for quite awhile.

–          Jack Cameron

A Prayer Walk For South Tacoma Homicide Victims

I was contacted by Pastor Ken Sikes from Manitou Park Presbyterian Church. Tomorrow on Good Friday (April 6th) he is hosting a prayer walk for the victims of homicides over the last five years in South Tacoma. I grew up in South Tacoma on South 40th and Fawcett so I’m partial to neighborhood. Unfortunately,  I’m unable to attend, but I’m certain that many of the people who come to this site might be interested so I thought I’d share the event.

Here’s the list of times and locations. For more about the event or Pastor Ken Sikes, check out his website at: http://sotacsermons.blogspot.com/

Stop  Time  Mile             Location                                  Person

1        12:00                    Manitou Park                              Fernando Sandoval  (17)

2        12:20 1                 5004 S. 58th St (top of loop)       Teofilo Knight (28)

3        12:45 2                 5000 S. Tyler                                       Kyle Grinnell (21)

4        1:15   3.25             34th and S. Madison                    Terrance Sand (42)

5        1:45   4.75             S. Union and 45th St.                  Donald M. McCaney (17)

6        2:00   4.85             S. Puget Sound & 45th St.            James Smith (37)

7        2:20   5.25             S. Cedar and 43rd St.                  Dowell Davis Thorn III (20)

8        2:35   5.9               S. Pine and 50th                          Georgia Gunzer (33)

9        2:50   6.25             S. Oakes and 54th                       James A. Guillory (28)

A        3:10   6.6               5400 Steele St.                          Joshua Thomas Gatbunton(20)

B        3:20   7                 Shell Station at 56th Interstate     Julio Segura-McIntosh (3)

C        3:50   8.7               74th & Oakes                              Jonathan Ragland (27)

D       4:10   9.2               72nd & Lawrence                         Laura Anne Carlson (46)

E        4:25   9.4               70th & Puget Sound                     Saul Lucas-Alfonso (25)

F        4:40   9.7               Manitou Trestle (66th & So. Tac Way)

Finish 5:00   10.3             Manitou Park Presbyterian Church

– Jack Cameron

Fourteenth Tacoma Homicide of 2011 – Michelle Johnson

On the evening of Friday, December 16th, 45-year-old Michelle Johnson had been hanging out with an acquaintance on Tacoma’s South Side. At some point, they began to argue. The argument went into the street. Someone in a vehicle passing by saw the argument and thought it was volatile enough to call the non-emergency number for the police. Michelle threw a couple of punches according to some witnesses. The acquaintance then got into a Chevy Tahoe while Michelle walked away. As Michelle was crossing the street on the intersection of South 43rd and J Street, she was hit and killed by the SUV driven by the acquaintance.

This is Tacoma’s fourteenth homicide of 2011 and hopefully its last. It’s also a painful reminder that what starts as a disagreement can become something deadly if the people involved can’t control themselves.

Later that night, Michelle Johnson’s killer was arrested. She admitted to arguing with Michelle. She admitted to being the only car on the street at the time Michelle was struck. She claims that she only drove near Michelle. She’s currently being charged with second degree murder. Due to a lengthy criminal record, she is being held with one million dollar bail.

Typically I don’t post vehicular homicides on this site. This is because often the charges aren’t filed right away and they aren’t normally counted in homicide statistics because they tend to be the result of accidents. However, this was no accident. This was someone using a vehicle to kill a specific person on purpose. That’s not negligence that resulted in the death of someone else. That’s murder.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot to prevent this sort of thing from happening. There are plenty of people out there with unpredictable and volatile tempers. We can’t just lock them all up on general principal. Just remember, what might be an argument to you, might be something else entirely to someone else. Michelle was doing the right thing when she was killed. She was walking away.

As always, if you knew Michelle, please feel free to post your thoughts and memories in the comments section. I will not approve comments of hate. This is not the place for that. These posts are to remember those killed in Tacoma. Here’s hoping I’ll have to write less of them next year.