MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Police make arrest in shooting of Tacoma boxing legend following nationwide manhunt

Apr 22, 2024, 6:05 PM

Photo: Police arrested a man accused of shooting a Tacoma boxing legend...

Police arrested a man accused of shooting a Tacoma boxing legend (Photo courtesy of the Tacoma Police Department)

(Photo courtesy of the Tacoma Police Department)

Police have arrested a 27-year-old man in connection with the shooting of a Tacoma boxing legend.

According to the Tacoma Police Department (TPD), agencies conducted a nationwide manhunt for the suspect, spanning the Pacific Northwest, New Mexico and Arizona.

The man allegedly shot a 52-year-old former boxing pro, turned coach, on February 17 at a Golden Gloves boxing event held at the Oasis of Hope Center in Tacoma. The coach, named in court documents as E.L., suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was rushed to a nearby trauma center for “urgent medical attention,” reported police.

Detectives found out there was an argument between members of different boxing clubs before the shooting. The Tacoma News Tribune reported the argument started after the alleged shooter accused E.L. of stepping on his shoe inside the event. The argument then escalated to the parking lot.

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According to the Tribune, citing court documents, E.L. went to his car to get his handgun. However, a witness said E.L. never raised his gun, pointed his gun at anyone or fired it. The argument continued, and the other man, who also had a gun, started firing. Court documents stated a crowd surrounded the coach who was conscious and bleeding from his left leg.

The Tribune reported that E.L. told detectives he didn’t know the shooter and had never interacted with him before. He believed the shooter was trying to start a fight with him because of his reputation as a former world boxing champion. The coach also told officers he did step on the man’s shoe and they argued.

The coach said he walked to his car but saw the man standing nearby with a handgun.

Court documents, according to the Tribune, stated E.L. feared for his life so he grabbed his gun from his car, which remained in its holster. As he was getting out of his car, he heard gunshots and felt a bullet hit him.

Documents stated the coach believed the man was trying to kill him because he heard people nearby say “not to do the champ like that.” A witness confirmed to police the man was the instigator and that E.L. “would not give in to someone trying to challenge him because of his status.” The witness also said that E.L. is highly regarded in the community.

Police told the Tribune the suspected shooter is a coach from a boxing gym in Seattle. TPD said they are not releasing the suspect’s name at this time because he is involved in other ongoing violent crime investigations across the Puget Sound.

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After allegedly shooting the coach, the man left the state.

On March 13, the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office pressed charges against the man. The Pierce County Superior Court then issued an arrest warrant with a nationwide extradition.

According to the Tribune, the man was previously convicted for burglary, assault and unlawfully possessing a gun.

With the help of New Mexico and Arizona law enforcement, the man was tracked across the southwestern United States. The Tribune reported the man was in New Mexico for a boxing tournament.

On April 19, the man was caught by the U.S. Marshal’s Service Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force in Long Beach, Washington.

Officers recovered the man’s gun and booked him into the Pierce County Jail. He is charged with assault and unlawful possession of a gun.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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Police make arrest in shooting of Tacoma boxing legend following nationwide manhunt