Published May 29, 2017
TAHOLAH, WASHINGTON — Tragedy struck two tribal citizens of the Quinault Tribe over the Memorial Day weekend. One man is dead is dead and another is hospitalized from an aggressive incident that began at a campground where the two men were celebrating a birthday party.
According to witnesses, the the two were injured when the driver of a “monster” pickup truck purposely ran over them.
The victims were James “Jimmy” Kramer, 20, of Taholah and Harvey Anderson, 19, of Aberdeen. The driver of the truck, described as a Caucasian in his mid-30’s driving a truck described by witnesses as a mid-1990s Chevy with an extended cab and large tires, had been doing “doughnuts” at the site when the two Quinaults and other campers tried to make him stop.
The driver was screaming racial slurs and war whoops when he ran over the two tribal members. A woman passenger in the truck, also described as a Caucasian in her ’30’s was screaming at the driver trying to make him stop.
Earlier reports by the media said the two had thrown rocks as the suspect’s truck. That is inaccurate, according to witnesses. A rock was not thrown at the suspect’s truck until after two men had been run over. The Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office has concurred that the attack was intentional.
Jimmy Kramer was at Tacoma General on life support when his life ended at about 10 pm Sunday night. Harvey Anderson was at Grays Harbor Hospital, but is now at Tacoma General due to medical complications from his injuries.
“Jimmy was raised by my daughter and son in-law since he was four years old. Jimmy died a hero and he suffered his deadly injuries as he dove and shoved his friend Harvey out of harm’s way. Jimmy graduated from Taholah High School where he was a stellar athlete. After graduation he became a commercial fisherman. Jimmy was always a keen hunter and most of all a father, a friend, a family member and a father whose life was taken from him senselessly.” Said Ralston.
Quinault Chief of Police Mark James, whose department is investigating the incident in cooperation with the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office, reports that there are no suspects at this time, although multi-leads are being followed, and the Quinault Police Department is assisting in the investigation every way it can. He did concur that misinformation has been distributed related to the incident, and that there was no apparent provocation by the tribal members in the attack.
Fawn Sharp, president of QIN, said, “It is very important for accurate information to be conveyed. Once the suspects are identified, Quinault will prepare a motion to permanently exclude the individuals from ever entering the exterior boundaries of the Quinault Reservation. Our entire Tribe is distraught over this incident. We work hard to be good friends with our neighboring communities. If it is, in fact, determined that this was a hate crime it will add even more distress and sadness to our loss of this outstanding young man and the injury of the other.”
“This should be a first degree murder charge under the felony-murder doctrine, which does not require the element of premeditation. Under that doctrine, one can be charged with first degree murder when during the course of committing a felony, there’s a death, even if under ‘accidental’ or reckless circumstances. There is simply no excuse or defense to this unthinkable tragedy. If it’s a hate crime it could help assure that it would be triggered as a felony or trigger aggravating circumstances at sentencing,” she said.
President Sharp is an attorney and former governor of the Washington State Bar Association.
The Quinault Nation will work with the Grays Harbor County Prosecutor’s Office to offer a reward to a person or persons who personally knew the suspect(s) and is willing to work with law enforcement to testify and help prosecute the defendant(s).
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Det. Sgt. Darrin Wallace, or Deputy Eric Cowsert at 360-533-8765.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.