Local

Judge sets bail at $1 million for 2 teens arrested in connection with 14-year-old’s shooting death

A Pierce County judge set bail at $1 million for both of the 17-year-old suspects accused of shooting and killing a 14-year-old Tacoma girl earlier this week.

Both teens were charged Friday with one count of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, one count of drive-by shooting, and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm for the Wednesday incident in which 14-year-old Iyana Ussery was killed.

Ussery was hit by a bullet when the car she and other juveniles were in near 19th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Tacoma took on gunfire.

The girl was driven to the 1900 block of Ainsworth Avenue, where she was found by her mother.

Medics who arrived attempted lifesaving measures, but the girl died at the scene.

According to court documents, one of Ussery’s friends who was in the car at the time of the shooting said the incident stemmed from a rival gang membership — the shooter was a member of the “Rollin’ 60s Crips,” while the intended target in the car was a member of the “Hilltop Crips.”

Ussery, though, had no involvement or association with any gangs, according to court documents.

According to court documents, Ussery and five other juveniles drove to a local convenience store in Ussery’s mom’s Dodge Magnum for snacks. One of the juveniles, referred to as “DLS” in court documents, said she was the driver.

DLS said that the group passed a white sedan with tinted windows that was exiting the parking lot, and one of the Dodge’s passengers said something to the effect of, “That’s Junie,” when the sedan passed. DLS then pulled into the parking lot, at which point two Black males ran into the parking lot and began shooting at the Dodge.

DLS described the shooters as wearing all black clothing and ski masks.

Officers responded to the convenience store in the 1100 block of South 19th Street and learned that the shooting happened a few houses to the west.

The owner of a nearby business told police that he saw a male in black pants and a black hoodie with the hood up shooting at a black car (the Dodge is dark blue). The business owner then saw the shooter waving to people in a “let’s go” manner as he ran westbound on South 19th Street.

Detectives began trying to identify “Junie” and found a report listing both shooting suspects. In the report, one of the suspects is listed as having a moniker of “Juney.”

Detectives received surveillance video from the convenience store that shows the white sedan pulling into the parking lot at 11:33 p.m. The Dodge pulls in and parks shortly thereafter.

The front passenger of the Dodge gets out and walks to the front of the store, but then stops to flash gang signs toward the white sedan, according to court documents.

Video from another location shows the white sedan driving through the store parking lot and onto South 19th Street. After a short distance, the car stops, and two people get out from the passenger side.

A review of video footage from a different location after the shooting shows one of those subjects running southbound on L Street while the other ran westbound on South 19th Street.

Detectives began researching the sedan and learned that its owner had reported it stolen in November 2021. At the time, she named one of the shooting suspects as the likely thief of the car, stating that he had used the car to do shootings.

Detectives later contacted her to try and locate the car, and she said that the suspect was in the car with her as she tried to convince him to turn himself in.

Detectives met with the woman later and interviewed her about the day of the Tacoma shooting. She said that on that day, the suspect had called her, distraught and crying, saying his life was “out of control.”

The woman also said that on the morning of the shooting, the suspect dropped her off at work in Seattle. She let him keep the car because he told her that he was going to pick up “Junie” and the two of them were going to work with “Junie’s” father.

Detectives showed her a picture of the other suspect, and she confirmed that she knew him as “Junie.”

Because both suspects are under 18, they are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.