David Watson left home early Sunday in search of his runaway dog.
Watson, 45, found his pooch but lost his life, gunned down in a mysterious homicide in Tacoma.
Police on Tuesday released surveillance video from a convenience store they think Watson might have been outside when he was shot. Blurry footage shows two young men walking through the store parking lot. They look in the direction of Watson’s red pickup, which was parked nearby, and then run away.
It’s unclear from the video whether Watson was in the truck at the time, but it appears the two young men were talking to someone inside.
Detectives would like to talk to the men, police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.
Police began investigating the case about 3 a.m. Sunday after being called by people who live near South 54th and South Lawrence streets who reported there was an injured man in a running pickup that had crashed into a nearby park.
Neighbors were alerted to the truck by the engine revving, Fulghum said.
“They were outside having a smoke, heard the truck engine and went to see what was going on,” he said.
Patrol officers arrived to find an unconscious Watson in the truck with his dog, the spokesman said.
They initially thought he’d simply wrecked his truck.
He was taken by ambulance to Tacoma General Hospital, where he died a few hours later. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the torso.
Police believe Watson was shot at the convenience store at South 56th and South Lawrence and managed to drive himself two blocks before losing control of his pickup. The dog was not harmed.
Police are unclear why Watson was shot.
“It doesn’t look like a robbery,” Fulghum said. “It doesn’t look like a drug deal.”
Detectives interviewed Watson’s roommate, who said the victim left home to look for his dog and never returned.
Watson’s older brother, Jonathan Watson, told reporters Tuesday that his brother was the youngest of four siblings, grew up in the Tacoma area and graduated from Lakes High School.
David Watson did odd jobs, doted on his dog and mostly kept to himself, Jonathan Watson said.
“He was a quiet, reserved young man who took care of himself and took care of his own and wound up in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Watson, who described his mother as inconsolable. “It’s very hard on our family.”
Jonathan Watson urged anyone with information to call police.
“I just want the public to get involved,” he said. “None of us are safe if these people are continuing to run our streets.”