TACOMA, Wash. — One city. Two mass shootings. 24 hours.
The first injured eight people at a music event on South Tacoma Way early Sunday morning.
The second incident occurred Sunday night at a residence on East 52nd Street, where gunfire killed one person and wounded four others.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and Police Chief Avery Moore expressed frustration at the violence that gripped the city on Sunday.
“Innocent people that's just gathering to have fun are the ones that are being shot, and that’s the sad thing about it,” Moore said.
Sunday's shooting on East 52nd Street put Tacoma’s homicide rate at 23, more than twice as much as last year’s rate at the same point in the year. Out of the 23 homicides, only one did not involve a gun.
The mayor and the police chief said reducing crime would be a top priority during their administrations, but Moore believes addressing the nature of the shootings is challenging.
“A lot of what we’re seeing in Tacoma is that the using of guns is intentional, but leading up to that is not so much about guns,” Moore said. “A lot of it starts with an argument that escalates into violence. Some of it is illegal activities that also escalates into violence. So the gun part is kind of the end.”
Moore claimed he’s been working on a comprehensive plan to tackle crime in Tacoma. Woodards said the plan will be presented July 12 to the City Council and the community.
Woodards affirmed that the city is not waiting to act.
“We lost a weekend, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to get up today and keep trying,” Woodards said. “We’re looking at funding some additional summer youth programs and finding ways to give kids better alternatives than hanging out at a rave at 12:00 at night.”
Moore said the department is performing hot spot policing, where more officers will be sent to areas with higher rates of crime, including the Tacoma Way neighborhood.
Woodards said that while she’s proud of the police’s ability to solve cases, she wants to make sure they do not happen so often.
“Ninety-five percent clearance rate over the last 10 years," Woodards said. "That says if you commit a homicide in Tacoma, we’re going to catch you. But we do want to get to a point where we don’t say, 'We’re going to catch you.' We want to get to a point where there’s no one to catch because the homicide didn’t happen.”
An arrest has been made in the shooting that occurred on East 52nd Street. A 32-year-old male was booked into the Pierce County Jail on two counts of first-degree assault and one count of first-degree murder.
Police are still looking for those responsible for the shooting on South Tacoma Way. Anyone with information is encouraged to reach out as soon as possible to CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-222-TIPS.