Crime

He shot his ex-wife during an argument at their Tacoma home then shot himself, charges say

A 35-year-old man fatally shot his ex-wife during an argument Sunday at their Tacoma home then shot himself, according to charging papers.

Prosecutors charged Johnathon Michael Forsman with first-degree murder Friday morning in connection to the death of 37-year-old Jennifer Forsman.

He pleaded not guilty at arraignment, and Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Sabrina Ahrens set bail at $1 million.

Charging papers and police give this account of what happened:

Police arrived at the home about 6:30 a.m. Sunday after a report of a shooting in the 500 block of East 75th Street.

“Per dispatch, the 911 caller reported that her father had just shot her mother,” the declaration for determination of probable cause reads. “The officers were further advised that three children, all minors, had fled the house and were at a neighbor’s house.”

Police found the man and the woman with gunshot wounds.

The woman was not responsive. The man allegedly said he had tried to commit homicide and to kill himself.

Both were taken to a hospital.

The youngest child, 12, “reported that earlier that morning she heard her parents arguing in her bedroom while she was in bed,” and then she witnessed the shootings.

The children told police that the man and woman had been divorced for about two and a half years and stayed in separate rooms of the home. They said the man and woman argued, and that the man was upset that the woman was in a relationship.

The man allegedly told firefighters that was why he decided to end the woman’s life and his own.

The woman died at the hospital from the gunshot wound to her head. She also had a gunshot wound to her arm.

A surgeon said the bullet the man fired at his own head apparently ricocheted off his skull and that he was expected to make a full recovery.

Jennifer Forsman’s loved ones said outside court that she has four daughters, ages 12 to 19, the two youngest with Johnathon Forsman and the two older kids from a prior relationship.

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Jennifer Forsman Family courtesy photo

Family said she was a long-time employee of a Starbucks store in the University Place area. They thought she was a shift manager and had worked there for 12 or 13 years.

They said coworkers visited the hospital and that they’ve been given a couple weeks off work following the tragedy.

“She was well-known in the community,” her father, Frank Skelly, said. “Everybody loved her.”

He said others at the store recognized him as her dad and greeted him when he visited.

“I was so proud of her,” Skelly said. “... It’s a lifetime for me, what he’s done.”

He and other family members described Forsman as a hard worker and an excellent mother.

Loved ones also said she was a big fan of the music artist Pink and that she has a large extended family.

Of 38 grandchildren, they said she was her grandmother’s favorite. Both were artistic, imaginative and somewhat quiet and reserved.

“She was the best of our family,” said Jennifer Forsman’s cousin, Louise Palazzo. “She was all about positivity and bringing people together, and a selfish person took her life.”

An online fundraiser has been set up to support the family.

Alexis Krell covers local, state and federal court cases that affect Pierce County. She started covering courts in 2016. Before that she wrote about crime and breaking news for almost four years as The News Tribune’s night reporter.
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