PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — A man pretended he wanted to buy drugs then robbed and fatally shot a suspected dealer outside a Tacoma fast food restaurant, according to court documents.
Ten months after 48-year-old Steven Haggard was killed, police believe they’ve identified the gunman using DNA.
Pierce County prosecutors on Friday charged Tyrice Aaron Hall, 26, with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf at arraignment. Superior Court Judge Matthew Thomas set bail at $1.5 million.
The shooting took place just before noon Feb. 29 in the 5200 block of Tacoma Mall Boulevard.
Charging papers give this account:
Police were called to the scene for a shooting about a “drug deal gone bad” and found Haggard suffering from gunshot wounds to the groin and abdomen.
He was conscious, and, while he couldn’t tell police who shot him, he did say it was over “money,” records say.
Haggard was taken to Tacoma General Hospital, where he died.
A woman trying to stem Haggard’s bleeding when officers arrived said the shooter had approached her for help buying heroin and she’d called Haggard, who arrived after a half hour or so.
While they waited, Hall and the woman smoked cigarettes and chatted. Hall allegedly discarded a Newport cigarette butt in an ashtray outside the restaurant, which detectives later collected and had tested for DNA.
The woman said when Haggard arrived, Hall demanded to see the drugs before paying for them so Haggard waved him over to his truck.
“... as the defendant approached the truck, he pulled out a black semiautomatic handgun and told the victim to give him his money,” prosecutors wrote in charging papers.
Haggard tried to run but Hall allegedly fired at least twice, causing Haggard to fall to the ground.
The victim threw his car keys and other items in Hall’s direction, shouting, “Take it all,” records say.
Hall allegedly picked the items up and drove away in Haggard’s truck, which was later found abandoned on South 51st Street. The rear window had been shot out and there was a shell casing in the vehicle.
DNA from the cigarette butt and from the gear shift of Haggard’s truck came back and identified Hall as the shooter, records say.
Hall has prior convictions in Nevada for burglary.
© 2021 Cox Media Group