Violent, deadly New Year’s weekend in South Sound

PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — Three men are dead and one man is fighting for his life in four separate shootings from Tacoma to Spanaway.

The shootings happened between New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

The injured man had ties to the place where he was shot. Residents there said he lived and worked part-time at the Rothem Inn.

He was shot on the second-floor balcony, outside a room a couple had just checked into.

It is a disturbing scene outside this motel on South Hosmer. Tacoma police detectives are investigating the second shooting in the South Sound early on New Year’s Day.

“It’s unfortunate to start the New Year like this, you know,” said Jay, a resident.

Just after 6 in the morning, 911 calls began coming from the Rothem Inn, where Jay lives.

Jay said he heard several gunshots. Then he saw a man and a woman run to a vehicle.

“It seemed like they couldn’t find their keys,” Jay said. “So, they ran back up the stairs. And that’s when the gentleman ran back down the stairs and just ran down the street. And the woman got in the car and sort of drove off.”

He and others believe the couple was involved in the shooting.

“Oh, most definitely,” he said, “most definitely.”

An hour earlier, some three miles away in Parkland, a 40-year-old man was found dead.

“The person was shot inside the vehicle,” said Sgt. Darren Moss Jr., Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesperson. “So, someone else inside the vehicle shot this person.”

Just a day earlier, on New Year’s Eve, a man was shot and killed in nearby Spanaway. The same day, the body of a man was found in a car in Tacoma’s Stadium District. He, too, had been shot.

“If this is the way the New Year is starting then that’s not going to be good,” said Sgt. Moss.

By mid-Saturday afternoon, the people who live in this motel realized they knew the 31-year-old victim, which made the shooting even more upsetting.

“He was just like a watchdog,” said Eric Johnson. “Yeah. He kept a lot of problems out of here, really, so, a little bit concerning you know and him gone. It might get worse. I hope not.”

Detectives are asking anyone with information about these shootings to come forward, so they can solve these murders.

Police said these shootings do not appear to be random.