Tacoma – One of Tacoma’s bright lights blinked out late Thursday, the victim of senseless violence.
A bullet not meant for Lisa Marie Melancon struck her in the head about 11:30 p.m. as she and her husband, Joe, stepped outside their house when a neighbor asked for help breaking up a fight, police said.
Melancon died instantly on the front stoop of her tidy single-story home on South Bell Street, just south of its intersection with South 72nd Street. No one else was hit.
Police were looking for the gunman and one or more accomplices Friday. Investigators believe the fight broke out after two groups of young people, including Melancon’s next-door neighbors, exchanged derogatory text messages Thursday evening.
One of the groups left in a car, with someone firing blindly out the window, police said. One or more of those bullets hit Melancon.
City spokesman Rob McNair-Huff said Melancon joined the city as an employee 15 years ago and most recently worked as a building inspector in the code-enforcement division.
She was home with her husband when a dispute erupted on the street in front of their house, police said.
Investigators suspect two women had been arguing via text message in the hours before the shooting. The two agreed to meet on South Bell Street to settle things.
The confrontation escalated into a fight, police said.
Amie Hieronymus, 18, lives next door to the Melancon home. She said she went to the Melancon home seeking help when the fight got out of control and a young man who came to South Bell Street fired a gun in the air.
Hieronymus said she’d never seen the man before and did not know his name.
Joe Melancon came outside just as the second group jumped in the car and began to drive away, she said. That’s when Lisa Melancon went to the door to call her husband in, Hieronymus said.
A shot rang out and a bullet whizzed past her head and struck Melancon, Hieronymus said.