Man charged with Hilltop murder 25 years later

Man charged with Hilltop murder 25 years later

Credit: KING 5 News

Man charged with Hilltop murder 25 years later

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by Angela King / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 25, 2013 at 1:00 PM

The man accused of committing Tacoma's first gang-related homicide 25 years ago is finally behind bars.

Police tracked down Brian Clement Allen in Dallas, Texas. He was extradited to Pierce County on Tuesday, where he was arraigned.

According to detectives, Allen shot and killed 17-year-old Bernard Houston in 1988 during a drive-by shooting. The crime ushered in a troublesome period for Tacoma's Hilltop Neighborhood.

"There were always shooting and people getting robbed for drug money," said Eric Crittendon, former president of the Hilltop Neighborhood Association. "So many young lives were lost. so many families were destroyed."

Crittendon said gang members started taking over the neighborhood streets in the mid 1980's. By 1990, two years after the Houston murder, police recorded approximately 150 drive-by shootings.

But in the 1990's, neighbors banded together and formed groups like the Hilltop Action Coalition.

"The neighbors kept coming out and joining in. We had "Nation Night Out" parties and the business district started to come up. It's come a long ways," Crittendon said.

Now, a neighborhood that was riddled with graffiti and terrorized by gang activity is flourishing once again. New businesses have opened up. With a variety of mixed-used buildings, new neighbors are moving in.

"You're comfortable to walk around now. You can go to the store without being harassed," said Crittendon. "We still have a ways to go with the housing stock but as people move in and refurbish those, that's what's making it better."

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