Tacoma murder suspect identified by dog, court documents say

Tacoma Police have arrested a man accused of shooting a man in the head twice on Monday, killing the owner of a local auto broker.

The suspect, identified as Jerry Espana Davila, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

Around 12:35 on February 19, officers responded to a suspicious death on S. 28th Street near S. M Street in Tacoma. Police discovered a man inside a car who had two gunshot wounds to his head.

Police say multiple witnesses noticed the car around 10 a.m., but they didn't check on the vehicle until 12:30 p.m., where they discovered the dead man inside.

Officers then reviewed surveillance footage from a nearby business, which caught the victim's car arriving at the crime scene around 6 a.m.

Court documents state a short man was seen exiting a nearby minivan with a black dog, walking from the passenger side to the driver's side of the victim's car repeatedly.

After a short time, police say they could identify two gunshots being fired from the dog "flinching," and then running away after the suspect tried to grab the dog.

Detectives later found that a black pit bull was brought to the Humane Society after it was hit by a car at Warner and South Tacoma Way.

Police say the owner tried retrieving the dog a short time later. The dog owner was identified as a woman who had been in a relationship with the suspect, Jerry Davila.

Davila was previously charged with second-degree assault and felony harassment in 2021 where the dog owner was listed as the victim.

The woman said Davila told her that the dog ran away, and when she asked him where he was when the dog ran away, he responded with "some crazy things" and told her, "You're trying to set me up," according to court documents.

The woman later picked up her dog from the Humane Society on Thursday, February 22, with a short man. When the man took off his mask, police identified him as the suspect in the deadly shooting, and he was taken into custody.


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The victim of the shooting was determined to be the owner of A to B Auto in Tacoma.