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17-year-old arrested in shooting death of 14-year-old in Tacoma

TACOMA — A 17-year-old boy has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy in Tacoma last Thursday, according to the Tacoma Police Department.

According to police, officers were called to the 4000 block of Portland Avenue East in Tacoma at 2:59 p.m. Thursday for reports of shots fired.

Officers arrived within minutes and found a juvenile male victim who had been shot. Tacoma Fire Department medics took him to an area hospital where he died from his injuries.

The case is being investigated as a homicide, police said at the time.

On Monday, police announced the arrest of the 17-year-old suspect. He was booked on charges of first-degree murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

KIRO 7 caught up with one man who claims to have heard the gunshots.

“A couple of minutes later, I hear bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! About nine shots go off,” the man told KIRO 7.

He said his family and kids in the area heard the shots as well.

“I was trying to tell the kids to hit the ground. You know, I was like, ‘Oh, man. Something’s going on. That’s not a firework,’” he said.

He tells KIRO 7 he ran to the scene right after the shots to see what was going on. He says when he arrived, the boy shot was still alive.

“So, I run over to the bus stop right across the street from 7/11; I see a young boy and a couple of ladies working on him. He had a couple of bullet wounds to the stomach, it looked like,” he said.

Local business owners are also telling KIRO 7 crime and violence are getting out of hand off Portland Avenue.

“I was doing my client’s hair, and I turn and go, ‘Oh, something is wrong,’” Srey Sok of Angkor Salon said.

She believes if it continues, business will hurt for everyone.

“My concern is that it’s going to be more slow. You know, because clients are afraid to come out themselves,” Sok said.

But many say the violence in the area is getting out of hand and believe something needs to change.

“What can stop this? Because there are a lot of weapons on the street and if there is nothing really anyone can do except address the young people and hopefully parents can teach kids better,” the man said. “Hopefully justice will be served.”

During the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Community Services Awards on Monday, Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards commented about the recent string of gun violence in which teenagers have been the victims.

“But that ripple effect just doesn’t affect the families or the immediate friends or just the schoolmates. It affects our entire community,” Woodards said.

KIRO 7 saw several friends of the 14-year-old revisit the memorial set up at the bus stop on Portland Avenue where the tragedy happened.

His friends say he was always smiling and laughing and that he had a big heart. They are still heartbroken over this entire situation. Those who live in the area are still on edge about safety in town, and they hope the violence stops.

“It’s sad to see that young people are going to (be) having guns through life now. It’s not right,” one man told KIRO 7.