Man charged in fatal shooting of Tacoma woman in 2006

Pierce County prosecutors on Wednesday charged a man they allege fatally shot a Tacoma prostitute in 2006 after she had sex with him.

Brandon Lee Farmer, 29, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 45-year-old Velma Tirado. He’s being held in West Virginia on unrelated charges and has a warrant out for his arrest related to the Pierce County crime.

Charging papers give this account:

Farmer and another man picked up Tirado in downtown Tacoma, where she was working as prostitute Aug. 27, 2006. They drove in a truck to an alley near South 19th Street and Fawcett Avenue, where other people who were parked nearby reported hearing gunshots.

The other man, who said he was the driver, told California investigators last month that Farmer shot Tirado in the head after she had sex with him in the truck in the alley.

The investigators shared that information with Tacoma police detectives, who spoke with Farmer in West Virginia.

He told them he was driver that day, and that he had sex with Tirado, but she refused to do the same with his friend without more money.

That’s when the friend brandished a gun, Farmer said, adding that he pushed the other man because he thought he was going to shoot Tirado, and the weapon went off.

Farmer said he went through Tirado’s purse and threw it out the passenger window as they drove away. He couldn’t explain how he could drive and go through the bag at the same time, or why he would throw it out the passenger window if he was driving.

Prosecutors said witness statements seemed to corroborate the account of the friend, who does not face charges in Tirado’s death.