Motive unknown in fatal shooting of Tacoma man

Steven Speakman, 26, was found shot to death in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood on Tuesday.
Steven Speakman, 26, was found shot to death in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood on Tuesday. Courtesy

Tacoma police say they don’t know why someone would want to kill Steven Speakman.

He was 26 but had the intellectual capacity of a 10-year-old. He lived with his mother less than two blocks from where he was found shot to death Tuesday morning.

Speakman’s mother said he often walked around their Hilltop neighborhood and stopped in stores and restaurants to say hello to people but usually didn’t roam early in the morning.

A man found Speakman’s body about 6:15 a.m. in the 1000 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Investigators believe he was killed about 5:55 a.m. because that’s when neighbors reported hearing gunshots.

A motive has not been determined. Robbery doesn’t seem likely because Speakman still had his cellphone and wallet, according to police.

“We need help,” police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said. “We need anybody that saw anything to call us.”

Detectives are canvassing the neighborhood looking for video that might hold clues about what Speakman was doing before he died. They also are handing out fliers seeking information.

Ronny Brown, a longtime Hilltop resident, found Speakman’s body after walking his wife to work. He said he saw a man rifling through a bag shortly before coming across Speakman’s body.

The unknown man fled when Brown approached.

Investigators talked with two people — including one on a bicycle who led them on a chase and threw away a gun onto a school playfield — about the death. Neither was believed involved, police said.

Police are asking the public for help in identifying suspicious people, vehicles or activity in the area Tuesday morning.

Anyone with information is asked to call Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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