Crime

It was supposed to be a fistfight in Tacoma. Now three people are convicted of murder.

Three young men have been convicted for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Elijah Crawford.

Jurors found one guilty this week, and the two others — including the gunman — have pleaded guilty as part of negotiations with prosecutors.

The intended target of the Nov. 2, 2015 shooting was Crawford’s friend, prosecutors said, who had been feuding with 25-year-old Alberto Colt-Sarmiento.

The two planned to meet for a fistfight Nov. 2, 2015 in the 1800 block of East 44th Street.

When Crawford’s friend showed up, joined by Crawford and another companion, they saw Colt-Sarmiento and got out of their vehicle. Then someone ran out of the bushes and opened fire.

Crawford died, and the companion was injured. The friend who’d intended to fight was not hurt.

Both Colt-Sarmiento and the shooter are scheduled to be sentenced next month.

A jury convicted Colt-Sarmiento Tuesday of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, and unlawful gun possession.

The gunman, 19-year-old Juan Javier Zuniga-Gonzalez, pleaded guilty last year to first-degree murder, second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree attempted murder.

Trino Valentino Martinez, who gave him the gun, was sentenced Thursday.

Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend gave him a 21 years, eight months in prison — which is what both the defense and prosecution recommended.

Martinez told investigators he’d been in Colt-Sarmiento’s vehicle during the shooting. Last month, the 23-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Defense attorney Gary Clower told the judge that Martinez “was perhaps the least involved.”

He has no prior felony convictions.

Deputy prosecutor Jesse Williams told the court that Crawford was a “wonderful young man,” and that Martinez’s sentence for his death is something close to half of what Colt-Sarmiento faces.

Crawford was part of the wrestling and football teams at Lincoln High School and had recently graduated.

He’d been planning to join the Navy to become a combat photographer and also dreamed of wrestling in the Olympics.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell

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