Natasha Brinsfield was born with a kind heart.
When she was in high school, Natasha used her weekly allowance to buy lunch for a friend who couldn’t afford it, her mother Katina Brinsfield said.
“She was selfless and always showed people that she cares about them,” Brinsfield said. “As she got older, this passion grew with her.”
“Last winter, Natasha carried extra hand warmers and food with her wherever she went to distribute to homeless people,” Brinsfield said. When a friend was going through a difficult time, Natasha bought them a spiritually protective bead bracelet.
Natasha, 22, was one of four people killed in a mass shooting on October 21 in the Salishan area of Tacoma city. Also killed were 42-year-old Maria Nunez; and her son, Emery Ies, 19; and Nunez’s brother, 22-year-old Raymond Williams, Natasha’s longtime boyfriend.
The Pierce County Attorney’s Office indicted 22-year-old Maleke Domin Pate on four counts of aggravated first-degree murder on November 1 in connection with the shooting. Police say several surveillance cameras show Peith arriving and later leaving the scene of the shooting wearing clothes that were later found at his home, according to indictment documents.
Police said the motive for the shooting remains unknown. The only connection between Pate and the victims is that he was in fifth grade with one of them, according to the indictment documents.
Investigators say the victims were not gang or drug related. According to the Tacoma News Tribune, Pate was ordered to undergo an attestation later this month.
Every time Katina Brinsfield closes her eyes, she sees only the growing older daughter.
According to Brinsfield, Natasha was very fond of the ocean and marine life. She liked to sit and watch the fish while going to the aquariums. When she was about 8 years old, Natasha was in awe of watching scuba divers feed sharks on a school trip to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, and told her mother that she would also like to try it.
“I just remember that big smile on her face, and she just lit up,” she said, remembering how Natasha was such a “careless child” who made friends easily. According to Brinsfield, people gravitated towards Natasha and adored her for her generosity.
Natasha had many plans, such as going to school for a business degree, finally getting scuba diving and getting a job with Raymond Williams. They met for five years, and Natasha planned with him all her life, she added.
“And then everything was gone,” said Katina Brinsfield.
Bruce Massingale, Natasha’s half-grandfather, who met Natasha’s grandmother in 1982, recalls how the toddler tumbled when she was learning to walk. But one day Natasha immediately got to her feet with a wide smile on her face, as if she knew that she had achieved something great by getting up herself.
“I was very influenced by the fact that she was there and then did not appear so suddenly,” he said.
Love and faith
“We hope the justice system does its part,” said Lovale Iese, whose wife Maria Nunez and son Emery Iese were killed. “It doesn’t make sense to us. Naturally, on a spiritual level, we understand, but how they left is really difficult to comprehend. ”
The Lovale Ieze family lived, as he would call, an ordinary life, full of love and faith.
He fondly recalls how his wife enthusiastically helped the youngest of their seven children as he learned to count and recite the alphabet. According to Ise, she enjoyed being with her family and making sure everyone had good food.
“She did a great job with what they needed: a doctor, a taxi driver, a friend,” he remembers.
Ise, a minister of the Tacoma Indian Baptist Church, spent half his life with Mary. …
He said that she liked the simple things in life, relishing the smell of the ocean and the sound of the waves.
“She has always been so kind to all living things,” Ise said, remembering how Maria did not allow him to kill the spiders in the house, but instead asked him to catch them and then release them outside.
According to Ise, Maria never let her anger take over and forgave, and sometimes too forgiven.
“She hated when people were unfair to others or insulted by their words or actions toward children,” he said. “When it came time to turn to these things, she looked like a bear.”
Ise says he’s glad he told Emery how proud he was before he died, he said.
“He was everything I wanted him to be a son,” Loval said.
Emery was full of dreams as he had just graduated from Chief Lesha High School in Puyallap. In his spare time at Krispy Kreme, Emery trained to become a professional boxer, Ise said. He had a trainer, bought equipment, and even put a punching bag in his backyard.
“If he was going to do something, he did it, and he was going to learn how to do it and be able to do it,” his father said, “and he was really good.”
According to Ise, Emery cared deeply for his siblings and his mother and was madly in love with his younger brother. Every month, Emery ordered a chest of small pirate trinkets from Amazon, which he buried in his backyard for his younger brother to find.
Raymond Williams was the same, Loval said. He always found time for his nephews and nieces, whether he took them to the embankment, to go-karting or to the cinema.
“He was always close to his family … and was just trying to keep them out of trouble,” he said.
Raymond adored his mother, caring for her as she faced a number of health problems, relatives told the News Tribune.
Massingale created a GoFundMe page for Raymond and Natasha’s funeral expenses. The memorial service, open to the public, will take place at 10 am Wednesday at the Puyallup Tribal Youth Center, 5803 N. Leavey Road E. in Tacoma.
Seattle Times News Researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this article.