With four months to go, 2019 Tacoma homicides match total from all of last year

There have been as many homicides in Tacoma so far this year as there were in all of last year.

A fatal shooting that killed two men late Tuesday brought the number of homicides this year to 18, according to Police Department statistics.

Detectives have solved all but three.

The first homicide of the year was Jan. 5, when a 37-year-old man strangled his girlfriend, 41-year-old Mary Hoffer.

That was the first of two homicide-suicides in 2019.

The other occurred Jan. 18 when two bodies were found in a vehicle parked outside a restaurant near the Tacoma Mall.

Police said a 71-year-old man who had been financially helping 27-year-old Emmalee Masker for years shot her multiple times before turning the gun on himself.

Some of homicides were random, like a man shot to death while sitting at a bus stop outside the Tacoma Dome. Other people were killed by family members, like a 52-year-old woman allegedly shot by her son before he chased his brother down the street in an attempt to kill him.

Three of the 18 were killed by police officers or security guards, including Willem Van Spronsen.

Van Spronsen, a known “anarchist,” was fatally shot by Tacoma police after pointing a rifle at them and ignoring commands to put down the weapon. He is believed to have thrown flares and Molotov cocktails outside a federal immigration detention center, setting fire to a vehicle and 500-gallon propane tank.

Detectives have not made an arrest in the death of Jamone Pratt, a 16-year-old boy who was shot in the head during a dispute on his front porch.

Witnesses saw two cars speeding away but no one is in custody.

Stacia Glenn covers crime and breaking news in Pierce County. She started with The News Tribune in 2010. Before that, she spent six years writing about crime in Southern California for another newspaper.