March 19: The social recipe ruined the remodeling party. It included the following ingredients:
• Hours of work to demolish a bathroom.
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• A group of 10 people joining in the work.
• Pizza and beer.
• Fireball whisky to toast the finish.
• A couple who vowed to give up cigarettes before the party started.
The last bit lit the fuse. The dispatch call reported a big fight at a home in the 2300 block of South J Street. It was about 8:30 p.m. Officers drove to the scene.
On the way, one of them spotted a woman shouting at them from a neighboring front porch. The woman said she’d rushed home to get away, because one of the men at the party was “going off, smashing everything and assaulting people.”
Reaching the scene, the first officer found another woman on the porch, crying. She was 32. Male voices roared inside the house. One of them shouted a man’s name and said, “He’s going off!”
By this time, a second officer had arrived. The pair entered the house, saying, “Tacoma police.”
Three people were inside. One of them pointed to a man near the back door and shouted, “It’s him. He’s running away — he smashed the stove.”
The man looked at the officer and walked out the back door toward a car. Officers told him to stop. The man opened the car door, threw something inside, stopped and turned around.
He was 30. He had a bloody green rag wrapped around his right hand. He wore a white T-shirt, spattered with blood. Officers cuffed him and spoke to witnesses.
The bystanders said they’d been having a remodeling party to celebrate finishing a bathroom demolition. Everyone had been drinking beer all day. When the work was finished, they broke out a bottle of Fireball.
At that point, the woman officers had seen crying on the porch asked if anyone had a cigarette. Her 30-year-old boyfriend “just exploded,” she said. Recently, the couple had agreed to stop smoking, the woman explained.
Witnesses said the man screamed and lunged at his girlfriend. Other members of the party blocked his way. They had to tackle the man, they said — more than once. At one point, the man broke free and slammed his fist into the glass top of the kitchen stove, cutting his hand.
Officers spoke to the man in cuffs. He said someone had attacked him with a beer bottle and cut his hand.
The officer said that was an interesting description; the people in the house said the man cut his hand when he punched the top of the stove.
“Well, that was what actually cut me, but I did get attacked,” the man said.
The man smelled of liquor. He said he’d had seven beers. He said the remodeling party got out of hand because of some “drama” among the women, but he didn’t describe it. He said he fought off four people who were choking him and trying to hold him down.
The man refused medical attention. Officers told him he was under arrest. They read him his rights and asked whether he understood them.
“No!” the man shouted. He wanted to know why he was being arrested when four people attacked him in his own home.
Officers took the man to St. Joseph Medical Center for treatment. He yelled at officers and hospital staff. Eventually, he was wrestled into restraints. He refused all treatment, including a tetanus shot, and said the staff was trying to drug him to knock him out.
He continued to refuse medical treatment apart from bandages. He refused a breath test and denied that alcohol was involved in the incident.
Officers transported the man to the SCORE Jail in Des Moines and booked him on suspicion of malicious mischief.