TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Gunshots rang out across several streets during a shooting that killed four people in a neighborhood in Tacoma, Washington, authorities said.
A search for a suspect or suspects continued Friday, and investigators have not yet said what led to the Thursday afternoon violence outside a residence on the city’s east side in the Salishan neighborhood.
Authorities haven’t released the names of the victims. But The News Tribune reports relatives confirmed Friday that 42-year-old Maria Nunez; her 19-year-old son, Emery Iese; Nunez’s brother, 22-year-old Raymond Williams; and Williams’ 22-year-old girlfriend, Natasha Brincefield, died in the shooting. Police had released their ages and genders.
Multiple family members spoke to the newspaper Friday, expressing grief and bewilderment over their losses. None knew why their loved ones would be targeted by an assailant.
“My mom was just so loving,” Mary Nunez said of her mother, Maria Nunez. “She was just so kind and always willing to help people. And my brother was just the most genuine, nicest, smartest kid.”
Police on Twitter Friday asked anyone with information about the shootings to contact the national Crime Stoppers hotline.
“The shooting started in the alleyway,” Tacoma Police spokesperson Wendy Haddow said. “It transitioned to the front yard of a residence, but it did all occur outside.”
Haddow said at least one victim was found in the street in front of the residence after the shooting around 4:30 p.m.
The News Tribune reports a neighbor who heard the gunshots said she saw a man run away and get in a waiting black car, which drove off.
“It was multiple shots,” Justin Jones told KOMO TV. “I don’t know how many shots exactly. As soon as we heard them, I was just down to the ground, making sure I got all my family down.”
Crime scene technicians and detectives blocked off several blocks to investigate.
Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and City Council member Catherine Ushka on Friday extended sympathy to the neighborhood and those affected.
“We know our police will diligently collect the facts of this case,” they said in a statement. “As we learn more, we as a community will find our way through this together.”
There have been 27 homicides in Tacoma so far this year, Haddow said. Last year’s 32 recorded homicides was the most since 1994, when there were 33. The city has a population of about 220,000.