Army sergeant was killed after an argument with a felon over stolen puppies

Sgt. Emmett Moore

Jared Brown

The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)


Jun. 29—A 37-year-old convicted felon barred from owning a gun fatally shot a soldier stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord following an argument at a party earlier this month, according to charging papers filed in Pierce County Superior Court.

Joshua D. Wright is charged with second-degree murder and unlawfully possessing a firearm in connection to the shooting death of 25-year-old Sgt. Emmett L. Moore, a native of East Point, Georgia, on June 18. Not guilty pleas were entered on Wright’s behalf in Superior Court on Tuesday, and Court Commissioner Craig Adams set bail at $1.5 million, according to court and jail records.

Wright surrendered to police after the Pierce County SWAT team surrounded the Tacoma home he was at on Monday afternoon.

Deputies found Moore covered in blood and without a pulse inside a home on the 1600 block of 112th Street South in Parkland, according to charging papers. An autopsy showed gunshot wounds to his shoulder, chest and upper arm.

Witnesses told investigators Wright fired a handgun at Moore after the soldier said to stop talking to him because they didn’t know each other, court documents show. Wright appeared to only pull the trigger once but multiple bullets fired, indicating he might have had an automatic weapon, court records show.

Deputies also recovered a gun from Moore’s waistband, according to court documents.

Detectives learned that prior to the gunfire there was an argument between Moore’s friend and a woman about the friend allegedly stealing pit bull puppies a few days earlier, court documents show. The woman later told Moore’s girlfriend that her “man was dead” and called 911 saying police needed to respond to arrest a man or else he’d be killed.

Shortly thereafter, Wright and Moore exchanged words, according to court documents. Surveillance footage showed Wright leaving the house and driving away after the shooting.

The woman who owned the car Wright was driving told investigators he had the car the night of the shooting and owned a handgun that could be switched to automatic firing, court documents show.

Wright was previously convicted of felony harassment in 2016 and second-degree malicious mischief in 2001, according to Pierce County court records.

Charging papers indicate Moore is survived by his 2-year-old daughter.


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