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
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.
In the early evening of December 19th, 21-year-old William Edwards was outside a convenience store in the 2700 block of South 12th Street. His girlfriend sat in a nearby car. He was there to buy an iPhone. He met up with two men outside the Central Tacoma convenience store.
The seller handed him the phone to look at it. William started backing away with the phone once he had it. One man grabbed him as William backed away. Court documents say that William became irate, grabbed the other man’s shirt and pulled out a handgun putting it to the man’s head. “Don’t ever run up on me.” He shouted, “I’ll f*cking kill you,”
William demanded the man give him his wallet. At this point the man reached towards his waist as if grabbing his wallet, and removed his own handgun from his waistband firing two shots at William. His girlfriend grabbed William’s gun and put it in a backpack. William was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead. The backpack was found and his girlfriend was detained. The shooter remained on the scene and was questioned by police. No charges are expected as the circumstances show the shooting to be a matter of self-defense.
William Edwards is the eighteenth Tacoma homicide of 2016. It has been an especially violent year. The last time we had this many homicides in a year was 2006. It is difficult to say what, if anything, has led to the increase in violence. Often it turns out that the violence has not really increased so much as shootings one year are more accurate than another.
At TacomaStories we focus on the victim and insist that a man is not his last or worst actions. Unfortunately, William’s common name makes an Internet search for more information about him difficult. This is why the comments section is reserved for those who knew William who might want to share memories of him. All comments are moderated and approved before being posted. Also if any friend or family member has a photo of William they would like me to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Jack Cameron
Terry Northcutt at his daughter’s wedding.
Voravangso ‘Two’ Phanmana
Typically when a homicide happens in Tacoma I wait for the name of the victim to be released and for the authorities and other media outlets to report what happened. Sometimes I am unable to do that because the only people who know what happened are dead or murderers.
Around 1:00am on Friday, October 14th neighbors reported hearing multiple gunshots in the 3600 block of Portland Avenue East. They found 61-year-old Terry Northcutt and 45-year-old Voravangso ‘Two’ Phanmana dead of gunshot wounds in the yard of a house where Voravangso lived. Terry occasionally stayed there as well. Terry and Voravangso are the eleventh and twelfth Tacoma homicides this year. Neither man had a significant criminal history. More than a week after the shooting the possible motive as well as the person or people responsible is unknown.
Voravangso had a mother and an 11-year-old daughter. Terry had a daughter who got married a couple of years ago.
The loss felt by the family and friends of these men is only increased by the mystery of their demise. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of anyone responsible. If you have any information about anything that happened in that area on the night of October 13th or the early morning hours of October 14th contact Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
If you would like to share thoughts or memories of Terry or Voravangso, you can leave a comment on this post. Every comment is moderated. Any inappropriate comments will be deleted.
– Jack Cameron
It 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