June 10: Dreadlocks drew one lesson from his arrest: Anonymity beats fashion every time.
Dreadlocks was 32 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 200 pounds, with distinctive shoulder-length braids.
He walked along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, near South 16th Street, wearing a brown jacket and dark jeans. An officer rolling past took one look and recognized him. Dreadlocks had an active arrest warrant on a weapons charge, and he was a suspect in a domestic-violence break-in. He kicked down his girlfriend’s door, according to an earlier report.
The officer pulled a U-turn, drove up alongside Dreadlocks and ordered him to stop.
“For what?” Dreadlocks said, and started walking faster.
The officer called for backup and yelled at Dreadlocks to stop. Dreadlocks started running. He climbed a fence and scrambled through a backyard in the 1500 block of South J Street. Officers were surrounding the area.
The house that overlooked the backyard had a sliding glass door, partly open. An elderly woman peeked out. The officer asked the woman if she had seen Dreadlocks.
Before the woman could answer, Dreadlocks stood up and raised his hands. Two officers cuffed him. He had no weapons and no drugs.
In the patrol car, the officer checked on the arrest warrant. It came from Louisiana, dating to 2011. The other state wasn’t interested in extradition.
Dreadlocks said he planned to shave his head so police wouldn’t recognize him in the future. He started talking about his ex-girlfriend, called her a liar and said he didn’t kick her door in.
He complimented the officer for excellent police work. He said he would be out in a day.
He said Tacoma officers would never catch him again. He was booked into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of obstructing a police officer.
June 10: Maybe borrowing the weed trimmer was a mistake. The soldier loaned it freely, then flew into a rage, grabbed a baseball bat and shouted that he was defending his honor.
The soldier was 43 years old. The neighbor who borrowed the weed trimmer was 32. Both men were married. They lived in adjoining houses in the 8200 block of East C Street.
The soldier had been treated for mental-health issues. Lately he hadn’t been taking his medication. He had decided the neighbor was having an affair with his wife.
After loaning the weed trimmer to the neighbor, he came back outside and started yelling.
“I’m gonna solve this problem today,” he shouted. “I am defending my honor.”
He yelled at the neighbor to come out from behind the fence. The neighbor didn’t. The soldier grabbed a bat from the house and stood in the alley, swinging it. The neighbor’s wife grabbed a knife.
The soldier’s wife came home. She apologized to the other couple and tried to talk her husband back into the house. The soldier turned and demanded his wife’s phone. He wanted to check it for evidence.
He grabbed his wife’s purse, swinging his wife sideways. She fell. He went into the house. The neighbors told the wife to get away, so she left.
Two officers arrived to sort out the mess. They talked to the neighbors, whose children, ages 8 and 9, were crying in the front yard, saying the soldier had yelled at their dad.
The neighbors said the accusations of an affair were baseless and crazy. At the same time, the soldier’s wife returned. She told the officer about her husband’s mental-health issues and his repeated accusations of infidelity. She denied being pushed to the ground. She didn’t want to press charges or seek a court order.
The soldier said he didn’t mean to knock his wife down – he just wanted to see her phone and check the numbers, to find proof of the affair. He handed the phone to the officer and told him to give it to the soldier’s wife. The officer booked the soldier into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor assault.
June 11: The trio of taggers carried a full set of tools. They were veterans — 18, 18 and 16 years old.
Their target was the base at the east end of the Murray Morgan Bridge, near St. Paul Avenue. A caller spotted them at work and called police.
Officers drove to the scene and started hunting. They spotted two young men near some bushes. As the patrol car approached, the two dumped objects in the bushes and started walking away.
Officers cuffed both of them. They said they weren’t doing anything. Officers smelled fresh paint.
One man wore a backpack. Another backpack sat on the ground between them. The two men said they didn’t know anything about it.
The officer picked up the backpack and heard the telltale rattle of spray-paint cans. He opened it up. There were eight cans inside, along with an iPod, a letter, sanding discs, glue, a rubber glove and a deck of cards.
Some of the cards had a tag: the word “LARS,” written in different ways. The officers knew that tag; it was all over the city, in more than 100 locations. It was sprayed in fresh red on a building nearby, in an area that required access to a second-story roof.
One 18-year-old said he had been hanging out with the other, but had done no tagging. The officer talked to the other 18-year-old, opened his backpack and found more spray cans.
The second man admitted he had been tagging. He said his main tag was the word “NOTES.” He couldn’t explain why — that was just his tag.
By this time, multiple officers had arrived, including a forensics team. One officer climbed a ladder to the roof of the building with the LARS tag and found a surprise: the 16-year-old, hiding on the second story. Nearby was a can of red spray paint and a black rubber glove.
The officer cuffed the kid, searched him and found a sticker in his pocket with the word LARS. The kid was carrying a grinder drill bit (a standard tagging tool).
The kid said he found the sticker on the roof. He said officers might find his fingerprints on the spray can, but only because he had found it and moved it.
The officer said that wasn’t believable. The kid stuck to his story. The officer asked one of the 18-year-olds if the kid was LARS. The answer: yes.
Officers booked the two 18-year-olds into the Fife City Jail on suspicion of graffiti vandalism. They booked the 16-year-old into Remann Hall on the same grounds.
Editor’s note: Compiled from reports to Tacoma Police.
Sean Robinson: 253-597-8486