“Fallen through the cracks”: Grieving mom demanding answers on murder of teen son

A mother pushed to the brink - she says she can’t get any police agency to tell her who is investigating her son’s murder. 15-year-old Russell Walker III died on January 2nd after being shot in the head.

After calls to law enforcement agencies in Tacoma, Lakewood, Pierce County, and Washington State Patrol, KIRO 7 figured out state troopers are investigating the case.

But as of Tuesday morning, Alicia Walker said her family still didn’t know exactly where the shooting happened, or who was investigating. She felt to get answers, her only option was to lawyer up with attorney James Bible and hold a press conference.

“My son was a very loving outgoing person,” Walker said.  Russell Walker had just turned 15 years old a week before he was shot on December 30, while he was in the car with three other people. He was a freshman at Kentridge High School.

The shooting happened around 2 a.m. on Pacific Avenue (Hwy 7) just north of 112th Street, in Parkland.

His mother said she got a frantic call from her nephew.

“He said auntie, we’re shot – and he said I don’t think Russ is going to make it, he got shot in the head,” Walker recalled. The boys drove themselves to Tacoma General Hospital. She says when she got there, she saw the shot-up car.

“I saw the bullet holes everywhere… there was so much blood,” Walker said. “I was devastated, I was scared to death,” she said. But Walker says after that night, she never heard from police again.

Her sister is the mom of one of the surviving boys who was also shot. Jacquelyn Saunders says neither she, nor her son, have heard from police either.

“Time just kind of passed. Then I’m like, hold on, wouldn’t have they said anything?” Saunders said. “I’m glad my sister here decided to take further because this is just ridiculous,” she said.

Walker said she pushed through her grief to make calls but kept getting passed from one jurisdiction to another.

“Apparently it’s fallen through the cracks, because no one knows what I’m talking about,” she said. She said even during the morning of the press conference, Tacoma police told her they had referred the case to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, who said they didn’t have the case.

KIRO 7 eventually confirmed with WSP that its investigators were the lead. Spokesperson Chris Loftis said while it took a couple of days to officially get the case, their investigators have been involved since the beginning.

“This family says they have not been contacted by investigators over three months – how is that acceptable?” KIRO 7′s Deedee Sun asked.

“It wouldn’t be acceptable if it was the case. Our records show we have been reaching out to the family. I don’t know where the communication breakdown occurred, I don’t know if the contact information was wrong in some way,” Loftis said. “If this breakdown in communication has caused even one additional moment of sorrow or pain – we are very much apologizing for that,” he said.

Loftis said WSP would also be investigating how the miscommunication happened and have contacted the family.

For Walker, she says what happened was not right.

“These 83 days have been the hardest time of my life. He was my best friend,” Walker said. “I’m my son’s voice because he no longer has one,” she said.

WSP said there have been no arrests in this case, but now that communication has been established with family, they are hopeful it will help move the investigation forward.

The case number is Case #24-000143.  Anyone with information can submit it on WSP’s website here.