Third homicide in a week in Tacoma; homicides still below 2020

TACOMA, Wash. — Neighbors are tense after a shooting overnight left a man dead at a homeless encampment on East 38th Street in Tacoma.

This deadly encounter brings the number of homicides in Tacoma so far this year to 23.

Both police and residents who live near where these homicides occurred say they are concerned.

The shooting early this Saturday morning was at this homeless encampment here on East 38th Street near East McKinley Avenue.

It now has residents fearing for their safety.

“I know it’s disheartening,” said Bridgett McGuinnis, who has lived here since 2016. “Is the person OK? No? He died? Wow.”

It was news to McGuinnis that the gunfire she and her husband heard from this homeless encampment behind their house was deadly.

“Remember, we heard it last night,” she said, turning to her husband.

“Yes, we did hear it,” said Antus Parker. “And I figured it was warning shots. This is Pierce County. You might hear a couple of shots. But we didn’t know someone was killed.”

“No, no,” said McGuinnis.

“That’s bad news,” added Parker.

Tacoma Police say they were called to this encampment at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday. When they arrived, they found a man already deceased.

Officer Shelbie Boyd, Tacoma Police spokeswoman, was asked if the shooting resulted from a disagreement.

“I don’t know,” said Boyd. “But I’m sure the people that do are probably in the area. That is a pretty active area when it comes to neighborhood groups and community involvement.”

This is the third homicide in Tacoma since Wednesday.

That day, just a couple of miles from Saturday’s shooting, a woman’s body was found slumped over the steering wheel of her car on South 47th near South Pine Street.

The next day, the body of a man was found in his car in a business parking lot off Hosmer Street. Both had been shot and killed.

The number of people killed in Tacoma this year is now just one shy of the 24 homicides here in 2020.

“And last year, a lot of people believe, or they’ve heard, that it was our record year, and it was not,” said Boyd. “That’s not to say that it wasn’t high. It definitely was.”

The latest shooting happened in an encampment that caught fire last month. Neighbors say it was jumped across the freeway entrance and was threatening their homes.

“It’s just every day here,” said Bob Swan, a 40-year resident. “The neighbors, they’re worried. These ones over here, if they knew there was homeless here, they would not have bought the house. And I think it’s bringing our property values down here because of that.”

Tacoma police say they do not have a suspect in this homicide, nor the other two.

So, they would like to hear from anyone with information on the incidents that left three people shot dead in this city this week.