A man in a car outside a Tacoma convenience store and gas station was killed Monday in a barrage of bullets and police said the gunman is still at large.
The victim, identified as 23-year-old Julian Thomas, was shot about 12:30 p.m. in a car parked at the Arco gas station at 3601 Center St.
Police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said it is too soon in the investigation to know what led to the shooting.
She said officers are looking for a black man in his 20s, possibly with dreadlocks, who is about 5 feet 8 and 150 pounds, and that anyone with information should call 911. The gunman was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans, and possibly a blue and white ball cap. He was last seen heading west on Center Street.
Police detained a man a half mile away who they thought might be the shooter, but later eliminated him as a suspect.
The back window on the Thomas’ gray Chevrolet Impala sedan was shot out and several rounds hit the front of the AM-PM store at the gas station, shattering the glass. Witnesses said dozens of bullets were fired.
Passersby and workers at businesses around the busy intersection described watching the violence unfold.
A woman standing outside the victim’s car was on her cellphone, arguing loudly before the attack, said William Colon, who lives nearby.
Across Center Street, Little European Cafe owner Lubica Zhukovska saw the shooting from her restaurant’s dining room after gunfire caught her attention.
“I heard him shoot about 10 times, approximately,” she said.
She ran to the back of the restaurant to get her cellphone. When she came back, the gunman was trying to flee on a skateboard, Zhukhovska said.
Police found a skateboard not far from the Arco gas station.
Andrea Taylor, a worker at the KM Resorts office next to the station, said she watched the gunman fire a series of shots, then drop his arm to reload.
“The guy put in another clip and popped more off,” Taylor said, sobbing.
Tacoma Public Utilities, which is nearby, was put on lockdown. Foss and Oakland high schools were put on modified lockdown.
It was the third homicide in the city this year.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653