Concerns grow after deadly, violent week in Pierce County

Less than 24 hours after a 15-year-old was shot and killed at an apartment complex in Parkland, locals tell FOX 13 they want out.

"The car jackings, the shootings, everything – it’s just too much," said Letoria, a mother of four.

She said she wants to move, and quickly. Asked if she meant the complex, she said it was much more than that.

"Basically Pierce County because it’s, it’s the violence. It’s too much. The violence is too much."

Compared to this point in 2021, homicides have doubled year-to-year. This week in particular was a difficult one.

In a one-week span beginning on Sunday, March 13, six people were killed in Pierce County – that includes Deputy Dom Calata, who was shot during a SWAT operation in Spanaway and later died.

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Lew Cox, a chaplain with the Des Moines Police Department, said that the stress level rises during times like these – not just for officers but their families too. He lived through a similar situation when an officer with his department was killed in 2001.

"We were grieving, but we still went out and did the job," said Cox. "I still went to crime scenes and death scenes. We just do it."

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Cox attributes that work ethic to the oath officers take, but he said things aren’t just changing in terms of crime.

"Today, most of the officers I talk to that are close to retirement – they cannot wait to get out of this job," said Cox. "The factors have changed in this job, they’re not respected, and legislators here are soft on crime."

As for the locals living closest to the latest deadly shootings – people like Donovan Bergman – he’s less concerned with what’s led up to this week’s rash of violence. He’s simply looking to get out.

"All of my kids are in their teens and this guy that just got murdered is 15 years old," said Bergman, standing near the Heatherstone Apartment complex. "Me, as a big brother to three younger teen siblings, we just kind of want to start fresh and go somewhere else where we can feel comfortable."

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