It’s the deadliest year in Tacoma since 1998, and there are two months to go

TACOMA, Wash. — More people have been killed in Tacoma this year than in any of the last 22 years, and there are still two months left.

So far, there have been 25 homicides. That’s up from 23 last year and 18 in 2018.

The last time the homicide rate hit 25 was in 1998.

Police say there is no obvious cause or reason for the uptick. Homicides have occurred in all areas of the city, and they involved gang-related shootings, drug-fueled feuds, random attacks and domestic violence.

“It’s our normal mixture of everything,” Tacoma police spokeswoman Wendy Haddow said. “There is no identifiable trend to link any cause or factors in the homicides that have occurred in the city this year.”

The first homicide of the year was Jan. 5, when 25-year-old Brian Cendejas was found fatally shot in the head at a North End house. Three of his friends were later charged in the death.

Cendejas was one of 20 people killed by gunshots in Tacoma this year.

There were two double homicides.

The first was June 6 when one man was found in a crowded parking lot suffering from gunshot wounds and another was discovered nearby in a vehicle. Detectives have not solved that case.

The second double homicide was July 5 when two women were fatally shot in their home. Detectives believe a man who lived them was responsible but were unable to interview him since his body was found floating near Vashon Island later that day.

In addition to the fatal shootings, two of the homicides were stabbings, one was a beating and one was the March 3 death of Manuel Ellis, who died of oxygen deprivation while being restrained by police.

In the case of Diana Davis, who disappeared in July and whose body was found near Snoqualmie Pass weeks later, a cause of death has not been determined.

Some of the killings were domestic, like the 61-year-old woman stabbed by her son after she returned home to the South Tacoma apartment they shared. Others were random, like a 36-year-old gunned down after making a heart symbol with his hands at a car full of men who asked him to move out of the street. At least one involved a mentally ill suspect, who is charged with beating a stranger to death with a rock but deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial.

There were drug-related deaths, like a 21-year-old man who had his throat cut over the sale of Xanax and a 28-year-old woman shot to death over a botched methamphetamine sale. There were also gang-related homicides, like a Tacoma man accused of killing his childhood friend because gang leaders ordered him to do so.

The most recent homicide was the Oct. 1 fatal shooting of a man in South Tacoma. No one has been arrested.


Jan. 5: Brian Cendejas

Jan. 14: Ernest Searcy

Feb. 29: Steven Haggard

March 3: Manuel Ellis

March 10: Sarann Suong

March 11: Ozell Tate

March 12: Jermaine Campbell

March 18: Raymond Serrano

March 25: Deon McGhee

March 31: Dante Robinson

April 3: Kelsea Michelle Carlson

April 5: Aaron Brown

May 8: Nelvin Rucker

June 6: Alfred T. Nelson

June 6: David Johnson

July 5: Jonna Hart

July 5: Meghan Re

July 10: Benito Juarez

July 27: Diana Davis

July 31: Ty Jenkins

Aug. 12: Jake Red

Aug. 15: Terrence Wilkins

Sept. 21: Dylan Coolidge

Sept. 25: Christian Martinez

Oct. 1: James Wamsley