32-year-old man charged in shooting death on Tacoma street

Pierce County prosecutors on Wednesday charged a 32-year-old man with first-degree murder in the Sept. 7 fatal shooting of Michael Ward Jr. outside a Tacoma party.

Vernon Lewis Curry Jr. was arrested Tuesday and arraigned Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him jailed in lieu of $2 million bail.

Police believe Curry was the masked man who walked up to Ward’s car in the 3800 block of South Yakima Avenue and opened fire on him.

Officers later found a ski mask near the scene that they say had Curry’s DNA on it, court records show. Curry’s DNA is on file with the state after a previous felony conviction.

Curry told officers he had nothing to do with Ward’s killing, the records show. He admitted owning the ski mask but told officers he had no idea how it got to the shooting scene.