Hotel worker shoots knife-wielding man who threatened staff

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My first thought after reading this story was “I’m glad they had a gun.” My second thought was “I hope they don’t get fired for protecting themselves and their co-workers.” I’ve seen too many corporate policies that bar employees from lawfully carrying a firearm on the job to feel comfortable that the armed citizen in question here is going to get the praise and support they need from management.

Police say a 45-year-old man, who brandished a knife, threatened workers at the Quality Inn and Suites Tacoma in the 8800 block of South Hosmer Street around 11:45 p.m.

A 32-year-old female employee shot the man, who was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was shot in the left abdomen, according to the police scanner. The woman called 911 claiming she shot someone outside and the victim was still moving on the ground.

According to news reports, the suspect, who’s now facing three counts of assaults after being treated and released from the hospital, wasn’t a guest of the hotel but had been previously asked to leave the property at some point in the past. This time around when the employee once again requested the man remove himself from the premises, he allegedly pulled a knife and threatened her and two of her co-workers; actually chasing them around the parking lot according to one account.

I’m somewhat surprised at the lack of attention this story has received in the local media, especially given that just a few weeks ago the local Fox affiliate had a big story about the high rates of violent crimes in the immediate vicinity of where this defensive gun use took place.

The cluster of budget hotels in South Tacoma near where a woman was gunned down early Tuesday morning has become an outsized crime magnet for the city, according to data reviewed by FOX 13 News.

South Hosmer Street between 84th and 90th, where the hotels are located, has been the scene of 1,355 crime incidents as mapped by the City of Tacoma between 2014 and December 2021. Taken as a whole, the records reflect a staggering variety of alleged crimes at these locations: kidnappings, sex trafficking, drug dealing, illegal gun sales, robbery, shootings, fraud, assaults, and murder. While the tool only shows 10 data points along the approximately half-mile stretch of road, each spot is linked to dozens – if not hundreds – of police reports. For example, the data point near the old Dickeys Barbecue Pit location links to 150 separate incidents.

By comparison, crime numbers drop more than 90% when you look just one block over. During the same 7-year period, the same portion of South Alaska (including side streets) had just 120 incidents according to this data. Walking a little farther east, while South Ainsworth wasn’t crime free there were still only 95 incidents on the map.

This stretch of road is particularly attractive to criminals, according to Tacoma police, because of the number of hotels and its ease of access to Interstate 5. It shouldn’t be a shock, then, that at least some of the folks who have to work in this strip are carrying for their personal protection. I just hope that the armed citizen who defended herself and her co-workers still has a job to go to after this. It would be adding insult to injury to fire someone for acting in self-defense, but sadly, we’ve seen that situation play out time and time again over the past few years, and there’s no guarantee that won’t be the unjust result of this defensive gun use.