PARKLAND, Wash. — A Pierce County family is in shock after their home was shot up, caught in the crossfire of what investigators believe is a gang-related shooting.
The facade of the house is riddled with holes. A 12-year-old girl inside was grazed by one of the stray bullets and there were several other close calls.
The shooting happened at 98th Street South and Ainsworth Street South in Parkland shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Investigators say one home in that neighborhood has been tied to multiple shootings just this week, about a block away at 97th Street South.
Neighbors say they heard rapid fire erupt overnight.
“All of a sudden I heard, grrrrrr grrrr grrrr. Automatic weapons being fired,” said Jimmy C. Johnson Jr., who lives in Parkland.
Tofi Lomu said the shooting woke her up — and she quickly realized her home was getting hit.
“That’s when I yelled, where are you?” Lomu said, shouting to her grandkids. “By the time I was calling them they were already under the table,” Lomu said, wiping away tears.
Her grandkids were just on the other side of the wall that’s covered with about 30 bullet holes. Lomu says her 12-year-old granddaughter was just coming out of the bathroom when a bullet flew straight at her.
“One of those grazed her right on her belly. Thank God it didn’t go straight inside,” Lomu said. “Would’ve killed her,” she said.
One person apparently involved in the incident is a 19-year-old man from Tacoma, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. He was in a car that slammed into a church fence across the street.
He was shot and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Deputies found a rifle in his vehicle, but are waiting on a warrant to confirm the type of gun and determine how the young man was involved.
“What we think that happened is that vehicle pulled in first, probably started shooting at the people in the street and they returned fire,” said Sgt. Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Moss said deputies recovered more than 80 shell casings.
It’s the third shooting in the neighborhood within a week — deputies responded to shooting calls on Sunday, Monday, and again on Wednesday, to incidents likely all connected with one home.
“It’s just really a terrible incident to see this kind of violence. This clearly seems to be gang-related, retaliation of some sort,” Moss said. “Having three shootings in that one residence in a two-and-a-half day period is just ridiculous,” he said.
A KIRO 7 crew who was on the scene Wednesday morning saw young people, some with their faces covered, hopping the fence of the home allegedly involved. Our crew captured cellphone video of a group running away.
Now the sheriff’s department is now comparing that cellphone video to surveillance video from the area as part of an evidence review.
“It’s just reckless and it’s endangering everyone,” Moss said.
The traumatized family caught in the crossfire says all the gun violence has them considering leaving Parkland.
“That’s why I’m thinking about moving back to the islands. I’m from American Samoa. We don’t have this kind of stuff,” Lomu said. “I’m thinking what’s the use of having a good education … if it’s going to kill them?” she said.
Moss says he is also concerned that there could be more gang-related retaliation as investigators work on making arrests.