Police Blotter: July 15 - 21


A fire at a commercial building has been determined to be arson. Firefighters and police responded to the blaze at 1224 Tacoma Ave. S. on July 4. The interior sustained smoke damage. No one was in the building. There are no suspects.



An East Side resident was arrested after becoming angry with neighbors setting off fireworks on July 4. A man living in the 3500 block of East ‘K’ Street called in a complaint. Before officers arrived, he grabbed a BB gun. He approached the neighbors, pointed the BB gun at them and fired several times. He was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault.



Officers working fireworks enforcement responded to 151 calls between 8 p.m. on July 4 to 4 a.m. on July 5. They wrote 26 citations. On July they responded to 114 calls and issued 12 citations. On the evening of June 30 they responded to 60 calls.



Police arrested 10 people at Freedom Fair along the Ruston Way waterfront on July 4. Arrests were made for trespassing, assault, minor in possession of alcohol, racing, boating under the influence and resisting arrests.



Washington State Patrol is investigating a crash on State Route 16 near Tacoma Narrows Bridge on July 1. The driver of a BMW 318 was racing the driver of a Porsche. The BMW struck a Honda Accord, which rolled and landed on its top. The driver and passenger in each of the vehicles were taken to local hospitals.



Three young men have been charged with one county of second-degree assault and three counts of third-degree assault for allegedly attacking another young man and three corrections officers in the County/City Building on June 30. Marsele Henderson is on trial for charges of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. He is accused of fatally shooting Victor Schwenke in 2008 at a party on South Yakima Avenue. According to court documents, Henderson had a hearing. After it ended three jail guards prepared to return him to his cell. Two took him out a side door while the third walked into a hallway. Reynold K. Taii, Richard U. Taii and Scotty Ropati are accused of rushing him and pushing him into a wall. They went to another hallway and rushed the guards escorting Henderson, according to charging documents. They pushed Henderson, who was handcuffed, to the floor and began punching and kicking him. The corrections officers used Tasers to subdue the three attackers. Henderson suffered a head injury. The three officers were also injured. The accused men were ordered held in lieu of $150,000 bail.



Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist announced on June 30 that two Tacoma officers who shot a mentally ill man in January were justified in doing so. Officers Sean Mallott and Matthew Verkoelen were on patrol when they noticed a man who fit a description of a car prowler. They stopped at a gas station on Puyallup Avenue and asked Robert David O’Connell for identification. He pulled a handgun and fired one shot at each officer. Both returned fire, striking O’Connell several times. He died at the scene. Police found two knives on him.


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