Teenager charged in 2010 Tacoma gang shooting

Staff writerDecember 6, 2013 

A teenager charged with a 2010 Tacoma gang shooting pleaded not guilty Friday to first-degree murder, first-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Naitaalii Toleafoa, 18, was ordered jailed in lieu of $5 million bail. Toleafoa was charged in juvenile court last year but had the charges transferred to Superior Court on Friday.

Prosecutors decided to charge him as an adult because he only faced three years in prison if convicted as a juvenile.

Toleafoa was extradited to Pierce County from Mexico last year after going on the run May 11, 2010, when he and a fellow gang member were accused of gunning down gang leader Juan Zuniga in a detached garage outside a West End home.

The teenager and Juan Ortiz killed Zuniga at the command of four imprisoned gang members who were unhappy with Zuniga’s leadership, according to court records. Another man was paralyzed in the shooting.

Toleafoa was 15 at the time of the shooting. Ortiz, 20, remains at large.

At least five people have been convicted of felonies in connection with Zuniga’s death.

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