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She shot man after Lakewood tattoo worker killed her brother. Now she's going to prison

News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. logoNews Tribune, Tacoma, Wash. 1/25/2023 Peter Talbot, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

Jan. 24—A 25-year-old woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for shooting an employee at a Lakewood tattoo shop after a fight over a threesome led to an exchange of gunfire that killed the woman's brother.

Gloria Gonzalez pleaded guilty in Pierce County Superior Court in November to second-degree assault for the Sept. 2, 2021 shooting at the business in the 10200 block of Bridgeport Way Southwest. On Wednesday, Judge Alicia Burton handed Gonzalez an exceptional sentence above the standard range of 39-45 months in prison as part of a plea bargain, according to court records.

Gonzalez was the only person to be charged in connection to the shooting. The defendant's brother, Brandon Toj, 19, was shot multiple times by an employee at the shop after Toj allegedly punched the employee and then fired several rounds that didn't hit him. Lakewood Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Charles Porche said Friday that detectives' investigation found the employee shot Toj out of self-defense.

After Toj collapsed on a sidewalk in front of the business, Gonzalez picked up her brother's gun and shot a different employee, shattering the man's pelvis, according to court records.

Toj was taken to Madigan Army Medical Center, according to the probable cause document, where he died of his injuries. The man Gonzalez shot was transported to St. Joseph's Medical Center for treatment. Gonzalez was arrested outside the tattoo shop.

The defendant was charged with first-degree assault the day after the shooting, and Pierce County prosecutors wrote in charging papers that Gonzalez and her brother had gone to the tattoo parlor to confront an employee about a "past issue."

After Gonzalez was arrested, she allegedly told Lakewood police officers that she and Toj had been involved in a threesome with the employee's girlfriend, and that this angered the employee, causing him to shoot Toj. Police noted Gonzalez appeared intoxicated.

Police said the incident started at about 6 p.m. Records state Gonzalez and her brother parked outside, leaving Gonzalez's two children, ages 2 and 7, in the car.

Inside, Toj punched the employee, possibly breaking his nose, and a fight broke out in front of customers and other employees. According to the probable cause document, Toj and the employee exchanged gunfire. The siblings left the shop, and Toj collapsed outside. Records state that's when Gonzalez shot a different employee.

"He stated that after the shooting stopped and Toj and the defendant ran out of the shop, he attempted to close the front door, but was confronted by the defendant who was standing in the parking lot holding a handgun," prosecutors wrote in charging documents. "[The employee] stated that the defendant accused him of shooting her brother, and then fired at least one round, striking him in the left buttocks."

Editor's note: A previous version of this story's headline incorrectly referenced the person the defendant shot.

This story was originally published January 22, 2023 7:00 AM.

(c)2023 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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