This isn’t the first time the Brick City building at 754 Pacific Ave. has attracted unwanted attention.
Last July 2, Verrick Vere Yarbrough shot and killed 18-year-old Rhaczio “RhaRha” Simms in a gang-related outburst of violence. A stray bullet also hit 17-year-old bystander Tiffany Walker, temporarily paralyzing her.
This summer, a jury convicted Yarbough to more than 60 years in prison. Here’s an excerpt from the article we ran about the sentencing:
Deputy prosecutor Gerry Costello said the time was justified. Yarbrough started a gunfight on a crowded public street, Costello said. That was outrageous. He had wounded two people and taken a life.
“The defendant’s crime will have a lifelong impact,” Costello said. “The aftermath of what he did, what he started on Pacific Avenue, is horrible. It’s time for a reckoning.”
Yarbrough’s attorney, Robert Meyers, argued for less time – something closer to 480 months. That would still be 40 years, he said. His client would be in his 50s, no longer young, no longer the teenage gangster who sparked a gunfight last July 8 outside Club Friday.
“It’s virtually a life sentence,” Meyers said of the sentence recommended by Costello.
Officials at World Vision were swift to distance themselves from the crime. From a May 3 letter to the editor, written by Brian Boyd, the Federal Way-based charity’s Tacoma program director:
&bull Club Friday was not on trial; Verrick Yarbrough was
&bull Club Friday was not part of this incident. Neither the deceased nor the shooter was ever in our facility
&bull The shooting did not happen at or outside Club Friday; it was the result of an ongoing gang feud that surfaced at other locations and ended on Pacific Avenue outside the On the Rocks bar. One of our patrons was a victim of this senseless act of violence.
Club Friday was closed after the shooting but reopened on March 16 with increased security measures, according to our report:
&bull An eight-camera system for monitoring everything that happens in and around the club.
&bull Hiring a professional security team to supplement off-duty police and volunteers.
&bull A new tracking system that requires patrons to have their Washington state IDs scanned, thus allowing organizers to keep closer track of who’s been in the club.