A military police officer killed his friend Tuesday night at his Stone Creek Court home following an incident involving a paintball gun, according to testimony Tuesday afternoon in Columbus Recorder’s Court.
Timothy Tarr, who is from Fort Benning but stationed at Fort Gillem, pleaded not guilty to murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He was ordered held in the Muscogee County Jail without bond and his case was bound over to Superior Court.
Columbus police were called to Tarr’s residence at 6736 Stone Creek Court around 7:50 p.m. May 24 to investigate the shooting. When officials arrived, they saw Alcides Ruben Washington lying on the ground with a single gunshot wound to his right eye and the defendant standing in the backyard with his hands raised above his head.
Washington, a father of six boys who worked at AT&T, was transported to Midtown Medical Center. He was initially listed in critical condition but pronounced dead of a gunshot wound the following morning, Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said.
Investigators spoke with Tarr and five witnesses on the scene.
Witnesses said Washington went to the home to visit Tarr and his six family members as well as assist with the construction of a storage building. The group said they were drinking alcohol but no one was intoxicated, Detective Brad Hall testified.
Tarr and some of his family members were working on the storage building while Washington was shooting paintball guns at the defendant’s shooting range, Hall told the court.
Using Tarr’s paintball gun, Washington fired toward the creek.
Witnesses said Tarr and his wife became “irritated” with Washington when he fired too many paintballs. The defendant looked over the fence and demanded that Washington stop, according to police.
At the time, Tarr had a .45-caliber pistol positioned in a holster on his right with an extra .45 magazine in his pocket. Tarr, who has 34 years of experience as a military police officer, said it was normal for him to carry a weapon, the detective said.
“Mr. Washington did not stop firing the paintball gun, so Mr. Tarr removed his .45 pistol from his holster and waved the pistol in a downward direction at Washington in an attempt to intimidate him into not firing the paintball gun anymore,” Hall testified. “Mr. Tarr then kept the .45 in his hands and came to a low, ready position.”
Hall said that is when Washington allegedly turned toward Tarr “with the paintball gun in his hands in an aggressive motion,” and the defendant shot him.
“Mr. Tarr did not realize that he fired the pistol and struck Mr. Washington until Mr. Tarr saw Mr. Washington fall to the ground,” Hall testified. “After the shooting, Mr. Tarr unloaded his .45 pistol and placed it on the table located near Mr. Washington.”
Attorney Jennifer Curry, who represented Tarr, said her client didn’t intend to harm Washington. When asked if he intended to discharge the weapon at all, Curry declined to comment further and added that police are still investigating.
“He’s very upset, very distraught,” said Curry, who believes a reduced charge of manslaughter would have been more inappropriate. “He really feels for the Washington family.”
The victim’s family said the detective’s testimony was inaccurate but didn’t elaborate further other than stating that Washington and Tarr weren’t friends.
Leland Sharp, the victim’s father-in-law, said Washington was a great husband, father, co-worker and friend. He asked that the public continue to pray for the family.
“Our family has suffered a tragic and monumental loss,” Sharp said. “He was a very giving person and constantly extending a helping hand to his friends, families and his neighbors. ... Sadly, him lending his hand cost him his life.”