Police: White supremacists arrested in connection to Tacoma murder

by: Kevin McCarty Updated:

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TACOMA, Wash. —

Five members of a white supremacist gang have been charged with murder in the stabbing death of a fellow gang member in Tacoma. In charging documents, Pierce County prosecuting attorney Mark Lindquist said the victim was killed for violating the gang's code of conduct.

The body of Derek Wagner, 27, was found in a backyard in the 4500 block of South Asotin Street Nov. 17. He had been stabbed several times. According to the  charges, Wagner was a member of Aryan Skins Kindred, or ASK. Lindquist said Wagner had an affair with a fellow gang member's wife and associated with members of a rival white supremacist gang known as the White Alliance.

"This was a case of white supremacists killing one of their own", Lindquist said.

Lindquist said the motive for the murder was an argument between the victim and the suspects over romantic involvement. The stabbing was not related to race, Lindquist said. All the suspects are affiliated with a white supremacist group.

Sources say Wagner had several white supremacist tattoos.

According to a Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers flyer, Wagner had attended a house party at another location near the spot where his body was found. Wagner had recently been released from the Clallam Bay Correctional Facility after serving several years on a burglary conviction.

According to charges, Wagner was confronted by fellow members of ASK on Nov. 16. After the discussion grew heated, Wagner was stabbed several times and ran away but collapsed in a backyard. His body was found the following afternoon.

Jeffrey Cooke, 32, Melissa Bourgault, 33, Mark Stredicke, 37, Eric Elliser, 33, and Shane McKrittrick, 32, all face charges of second-degree murder in connection with Wagner's death. They are scheduled for arraignment in Pierce County Superior Court Friday afternoon.

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