Relatives and community members urged two men wanted in connection with the last week’s fatal shooting of a Tacoma city worker to turn themselves in during a press conference today outside Lisa Marie Melancon’s home.
“We’ve had our time to grieve,” said Melancon’s brother, Vincent Silva, who wore a white T-shirt with her smiling picture and a black City of Tacoma hat embroidered with Melancon’s name. “My contemplation now is on justice.”
Melancon, 40, was struck by a recklessly-fired bullet July 22 while standing on her front porch in the 7200 block of South Bell Street. Tacoma police and prosecutors allege Olujimi A. Blakeney, 25, fired the deadly shot as he and two others drove away from a street confrontation that started over angry text messages.
Prosecutors have charged three men – Blakeney, 28-year-old Herman Jackson and 19-year-old Manuel A. Castillo – with first-degree murder and drive-by shooting in Melancon’s death. Castillo pleaded not guilty earlier this week.
Warrants have been issued for Blakeney and Jackson, both of whom remain on the loose. Their whereabouts are unknown, Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum said today.
Local leaders called today’s press conference to urge Blakeney and Jackson to come forward and to warn any friends or family members that might be helping them.
“You also could be prosecuted,” said Alton McDonald, who helped organize the gathering and is a member of Concerned Citizens for Justice.
Silva said the community has been a great support to Melancon’s family since her death. Now, the community can help in finding the two wanted men.
“It’s only right at this point,” he said. “You only think your protecting that person but you are not.”
Silva made a personal plea to Blakeney and Jackson.
“Please, please, please,” said Silva, who struggled to keep his composure. “If you two gentlemen are watching this, you can see the pain in my face.”
The Rev. Gregory Christopher of Shiloh Baptist Church said anonymous tipsters can call him at 253-606-5193 with information about Blakeney’s and Jackson’s whereabouts. He’d then pass along the information to police.
“Community, church community, let’s rise up and help this family,” Christopher said.
Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrests of Blakeney and Jackson. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
Reach Crime Stoppers at 253-591-5959.