UPDATE 3: Tacoma police detective John Ringer bird-dogged the case from the beginning, according to court documents, interviewing witnesses at the time and over the years until prosecutors had enough evidence to make a charging decision.
UPDATE 2: Pierce County prosecutors have charged Brian Clement Allen, 45, with first-degree murder in the 1988 drive-by shooting death of Bernard Houston. Allen and other alleged members of the Bloods street gang are accused of opening fire on Houston and another man in the Hilltop neighborhood in retaliation for another shooting, court papers say. Allen is to be arraigned this afternoon.
UPDATED: It appears from jail records that a third man also has been arrested. He likely won’t appear in court until Friday.
He was charged as an accomplice in another murder in 2001. Prosecutors said he held a man down while another man suffocated him with a plastic bag during a drug-related robbery. A jury acquitted him of first-degree murder in April 2002, and he was released, court records show.
PREVIOUS POST: A second man has been booked into the Pierce County jail for his alleged involvement in a heretofore unsolved gang slaying from 1988.
He and a man extradited Tuesday from Dallas are to be charged and arraigned today in Superior Court, prosecutors say.
Authorities suspect the men were involved in the Aug. 28, 1988, drive-by shooting that killed 17-year-old Bernard Houston. Houston’s death is believed by many in law enforcement to be the first gang-related killing on Tacoma’s Hilltop and might have sparked a run of violence that drew national attention to the city in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen said this morning as many as two other men might also be charged in Houston’s death.
The investigation lay dormant for nearly two decades until recently when an informant came forward to identify four men believed to be inside the car from which Houston was shot.