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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Nov. 29, 2023

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Accused gunman in Tacoma double murder might be tied to another homicide, charges say


TACOMA — A man accused of shooting two people to death early Monday in Tacoma allegedly admitted to being present at another fatal shooting earlier this year, charging documents say, and detectives believe he matches a description of the shooter.

Paul Michael Harrison Snider, 28, was charged in Pierce County Superior Court with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

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Pleas of not guilty were entered on the defendant’s behalf at arraignment Wednesday afternoon. Commissioner Philip Thornton set bail at $5 million. Court records show Snider has several prior felony convictions in Pierce County, including 2015 convictions for residential burglary and second-degree theft.

It’s unclear which homicide from this year Snider allegedly admitted to being present for. According to the declaration for determination of probable cause, detectives said the shooter in that incident was identified as a “Paul,” and that the victim was shot in the head.

Prosecutors wrote in the charging documents that Tacoma Police Department detectives would conduct a follow-up investigation, and, if Snider is identified as the shooter, he would be charged in a separate case. Tacoma police spokesperson Officer Shelbie Boyd didn’t have further information, but she said 12 homicides from 2022 remain unsolved.

The double slaying Snider is accused of marked the 41st and 42nd killings recorded this year, book-ended by fatal shootings on Saturday and Tuesday that bring Tacoma’s total tally of homicides to 43 in 2022. That total includes fatal shootings by police. Before Saturday, the city had gone more than a month without a reported homicide.

Mayor Victoria Woodards, in a written statement, said Tuesday she was saddened to hear of the four homicides that occurred over the last week, and she said the city must continue its efforts to prioritize violent crime reduction.

“Every resident deserves to feel safe in our city, and I remain committed to actions that will make Tacoma the safest city in the world, including investing $372 million in community safety in the budget we will consider tonight and supporting Police Chief Avery Moore in advancing the Violent Crime Reduction Plan,” Woodards wrote.

Snider is accused of killing two men at a trailer parked near the 8000 block of South Hosmer Street. According to charging documents, surveillance videos from a nearby sporting goods store and Ring cameras showed Snider entering the trailer at about 3:12 a.m., and the videos showed him leaving at about 6:17 a.m.

The defendant is then seen walking west on South 80th Street to another trailer. Detectives found him there with a female, records state. Detectives observed what looked like blood on Snider’s pants, and he was wearing the same clothing that the suspect was seen wearing on surveillance footage: all dark clothes with reflective stripes around the knees.

The defendant was arrested Monday afternoon just hours after Tacoma police announced the homicides. Police said the victims appeared to be 35-45 years old. They have not yet been publicly identified. A motive in the shooting remains unclear, and it’s unknown whether Snider knew the victims.

According to the probable cause document, a man inside the trailer appeared to have been shot first. Police found him lying on a bed with a single gunshot wound to the head. The other victim was found directly in front of a door to the trailer, which was left open. Prosecutors wrote that surveillance footage appeared to show the second victim working on a bicycle on the sidewalk before he was shot.

“Shortly prior to the defendant exiting the trailer, [the victim] can be seen standing up as if responding to something,” records state. “The door then cracks open, and swings open fully, then a muzzle flash can be seen, and [the victim] falls to the sidewalk, and the defendant stumbles out and falls on [the victim].”

In an interview with detectives, Snider initially denied being at the trailer where the shooting occurred. He eventually admitted to being inside during the homicide, according to the probable cause document, but he denied shooting anyone. Snider allegedly said there was another person in the trailer who did it.

Detectives reviewed surveillance footage and noted that no one else was seen exiting the trailer before police arrived. The defendant’s trailer was searched, and detectives recovered two 9 mm pistols and a gray backpack the defendant was allegedly seen wearing on video.

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