One week after murder, Orting community gathers to fight crime

compton_l.jpg
Michael Compton, 53, grew up in the same house in Orting where he died. Detectives believe he may have been shot during a struggle after interrupting a burglary in his garage in the middle of the night. (Image courtesy Crime Stoppers) | Zoom
In the town of Orting, with a population of just 6,700, a homeowner was found dead in his front lawn last week with a shotgun wound to the head.

Michael Compton, 53, grew up in the same house in Orting where he died. Detectives believe he may have been shot during a struggle after interrupting a burglary in his garage in the middle of the night.

The suspects are still at large and residents are left wondering how they can prevent future crimes from rocking their small town.

At a community meeting at the high school Wednesday night, resident Suzy Paschal squeezed in to a standing-room-only meeting and joined the discussion about how to shrink a growing crime rate.

"We are a small town with big city problems coming in with small budgets," Paschal told the Morning News on KIRO Radio.

Paschal said these crimes aren't isolated events - a 60-year-old man was robbed in a downtown park a few days ago.

While some of the crime is believed to be motivated by an increasing heroin and meth problem, other crimes seem to be from kids who might just be staying out too late.

Paschal said Orting had discussed a citywide curfew, but it was deemed unconstitutional.

In some cases, kids in trouble receive only a slap on the wrist and Paschal doesn't think that helps. Like in the case of Brian Backus, owner of Trailside Cyclery - he was badly beaten last October after confronting teenagers who had damaged one of his bikes.

"The Orting Police did a great job helping him. Where (Backus) failed was the court system. The kids that you hear, they are from the town, they just got their hand slapped," said Paschal.

At the meeting, Paschal said, "A lot of the residents stood up and talked and we heard very touching stories."

But the next step is still unclear, though the community is making strides to strengthen their neighborhood watch and form a community advisory committee that can keep an open dialogue between the city and its residents. Paschal said they have also made a request to increase the police presence around the city.

And residents have started a "Compton cruise" in order to better patrol some neighborhoods.

"Someone out there knows who shot Michael Compton," said Paschal.

Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,000 reward for information that could lead to the arrest of the person responsible for Compton's death.


Alyssa Kleven, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at MyNorthwest.com. She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.
Top Stories

  • Black Market
    Despite legalization, 'business is good' for Seattle's illegal pot dealers

  • Mourning Trees
    Chiara D'Angelo spent her day mourning the loss of over 800 trees on Bainbridge Island

  • Endangered
    Some of the most beautiful animals in the world are disappearing from Washington
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.