The number of homicides in Pierce County jumped to a record high of 72 last year, up from 59 in 1993, records show.
Pierce County sheriff’s Lt. Richard Rice said the increase was attributed to an overall increase in violence. “People don’t have fistfights anymore. The guns come out,” Rice said.
“You can expect more of the same as we become more urbanized. You’re getting shootings where they normally don’t occur.
“It’s a frightening trend, and it shows no sign of abating,” he said.
The Pierce County medical examiner’s office said a greater amount of the county’s homicides involved guns than at any other time in the past five years.
Of Pierce County’s 72 slayings, 54 people were shot to death, representing three-fourths of all killings.
The increase in homicides can also be attributed to several multiple killings last year, said sheriff’s spokesman Curt Benson.
There were four multiple killings in 1994, including a triple slaying in Spanaway in November and a double homicide there three months earlier, Tacoma police and sheriff’s officials reported. All five victims were shot to death.