Fatal shooting occurred while friends were working on a Tacoma house together

A fatal shooting in Tacoma last weekend stemmed from an argument between two friends while working on a house, court records say.

The 46-year-old suspect was ordered held Monday while Pierce County prosecutors decide whether to charge him with second-degree murder in the death of Dung Mai, 52.

Superior Court Commissioner Craig Adams set bail at $250,000 pending an arraignment scheduled for Thursday.

Family members said the two men were like brothers and Mai had been living with the suspect’s family for nearly 30 years.

Police were called about 8:30 p.m. Friday to a house in the 7400 block of Pacific Avenue and found Mai’s body.

He died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

The suspect was inside the house when officers arrived.

A probable cause document gives this account:

Police asked the suspect to leave the house when they arrived.

“The defendant seemed unemotional and unaffected by the death of victim Mai, whose body was lying immediately outside the door that the defendant used to exit,” records say.

At least two neighbors heard a single gunshot and called 911.

One neighbor told police he heard the suspect say, “Get out of the house,” just before the gun went off.

Another neighbor said he heard the men arguing about money just before he saw the suspect shoot his friend.

The suspect’s wife allegedly came looking for him the night of the shooting, concerned that he hadn’t returned to the family’s home.

She and her son told investigators the suspect kept several firearms in a safe at their home.

Police seized two guns, including a 9 mm handgun, records say.

A 9 mm casing was allegedly found near Mai’s body at the scene of the shooting.

“The scene investigation was hampered by heavy rain,” prosecutors wrote in charging papers.

Although officers found ammunition in a pickup used by the suspect and Mai to drive to the home they were working on together, detectives did not find a gun in the house.

The investigation is ongoing.

Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.
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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.
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.