When gunfire erupted in the Hilltop in 1988, Tacoma was then a city known only for its toxic aroma and an anemic economy. What citizens knew of gang violence came from news clips out of Los Angeles, where gangsters had descended like a plague years before.
Then came the drive-by shooting death of Bernard Houston on a Hilltop corner. His death was a harbinger of bad things to come. It would get worse before it got better.
In the 25 years since, the city’s fortunes have described an arc. First came the rapid descent into a maelstrom of gang violence …