Teen shot, killed at after-hours party in Tacoma

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by JOE FRYER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 27 at 5:35 PM

TACOMA, Wash. – A teenager was killed in a shooting in Tacoma early Saturday morning and the gunman remains at large.

Officers were called to the 1600 block of Center St. at about 4:30 a.m., police spokesman Officer Mark Fulghum said.  When they arrived, they found a large crowd of people at an after- hours party taking place on the second floor of an industrial building.

A 17-year-old boy showed up at the gathering, there was a fight and he was shot, Fulghum said.

"We don't know what the argument was about or who he argued with," Fulghum said.

Police have not identified the victim, but people who said they were relatives showed up at the scene Saturday afternoon.

"I can't believe this, I just saw him two days ago," said Chakira Thomas, the victim's cousin.  "He didn't deserve this."

She said the victim was getting ready to start his senior year at Curtis High School.

Witnesses said about 100 people were attending the party, which featured dancing and loud music.  Someone has rented the space to hold after-hours parties during the last couple weeks, witnesses said.

Despite bouncers at the door, the teenager was able to get inside, possibly to help pick up a friend's mother, said Alonzo Williams, who was attending the party.  He witnessed an argument, then one or more people opened fire.

"It was crazy," Williams said.  "You had people just jumping and diving everywhere."

The victim was hit and died at the scene.  No one else was injured. 

"We're going to be suited and booted to go to a funeral we shouldn't have to go to," Williams said.  "Especially for such a young man's life."

By the time police arrived, several witnesses had left the party.  Investigators would like to hear from them to help identify the shooter or shooters.

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