Tacoma woman dead after partner allegedly punches, stomps her over 50 times

TACOMA, Wash. — A Tacoma woman is dead after he partner “snapped,” and punched and stomped her more than 50 times, according to new court documents.


KIRO 7 News obtained court documents from the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office to learn more about the investigation into a woman who was recently killed.

The woman’s body was found in front of North G Street Apartments, which is owned by Tacoma Housing Authority, on North G Street Wednesday overnight.

Detectives said officers found a woman lying on the ground in front of the building with a large pool of blood near her head Wednesday at about 2:30 a.m.

The victim was later identified as 52-year-old Melissa Davis, a spokesperson for the county prosecutor’s office said.

Investigators said a security member told them that he was patrolling the area at about 12:45 a.m. when he saw a man “crouched down” near someone who was lying in the gutter.

The man was “rubbing the back of the person who was lying face down on the ground,” the document said.

When asked if they were okay, the man said they were fine, the security member told detectives.

The man was later identified as 61-year-old Michael Cooley, investigators said.

Detectives said they later found a bloody concrete block near a tree, which had a slight blood trail from where the victim’s body was found.

A neighbor nearby told police that she heard a man and a woman arguing outside, adding that she heard a woman yell “Oh, God no.”

The neighbor did not think much about it and went back inside her home, she told police, since she often hears loud voices from the North G Street Apartment building.

Police looked through the apartment’s surveillance footage, which captured a woman walking out of the front entrance of the apartment to the front curb, near the road. The woman was wearing the same red shirt, black pants and brown shoes as the victim.

Minutes later, police said they saw a man push the woman to the ground and walk back inside the apartment building to unit 305 where Cooley lives.

The surveillance video later captured the man walk back to the woman on the ground where he removed her jacket. He is later seen walking towards the back of the building with the jacket, investigators said.

Detectives said they later found a white jacket inside a community trash can covered in blood.

Police arrested Cooley in connection to Davis’s death.

During an interview with investigators, Cooley told police he was going to help the victim on the ground, but she told him, “He was going to go to jail for the rest of his life.”

He said he was not going back and began to “stomp and kick” the victim.

Cooley admitted that he was triggered by the victim’s words and punched and stomped her over 50 times.

Jail records show Cooley was previously convicted of second-degree murder in Virginia in 1986 where he was sentenced for 17 years in prison.

A friend of the victim told police that Davis and Cooley were in a relationship, which began in January of 2024.

The prosecutor’s office told KIRO 7 News Cooley’s bail was set at $1 million.


KIRO 7 News talked with tenants who live inside the apartment about the recent death.

A woman, who asked us to not identify her due to safety concerns, said she knew the victim.

“All I saw was her dead body out front. I knew it was her,” she said. “I felt sorry for her daughters. She got twin daughters.

“Sad, they’re in their early 20s,” she added. “Really nice girls. Yeah, how do you accept that?”

The woman told KIRO 7 News that the recent death is part of an ongoing issue at the apartment where violent behaviors and incidents continue to happen.

She said she was a victim of an assault at the apartment.

“He just pounded me. Pounded me. Pounded me. I was just begging him not to kill me,” she said. “I could’ve got killed too.”

KIRO 7 News asked her if she had reported the incident to Tacoma Housing Authority and the response she received.

“They just totally blew it off. They totally blew me off,” she said. “I feel like what happened to me, I had big bruises on my forehead. They should have implemented something at that time.”

KIRO 7 News also spoke with another tenant, who also asked us to hide her identity due to fear of the agency’s retaliation.

She said she knows the suspect, who lived near her.

“I had to avoid him Mike because he was in my face one time and I had to go around avoiding him. I shouldn’t have to do that where I live,” she shared.

The tenant told KIRO 7 News that she saw the suspect near his unleashed dog.

“I said, ‘Why do you let your dogs run off leash?’ Oh my gosh, he instantly snapped. He was instantly irate, angry at me.” She said, “I didn’t know if he was going to come after me. I didn’t know what he was going to do in the moment.”

She said she has witnessed and experienced violent behaviors and incidents for years.

“It’s just a nightmare because that’s kind of how it is. That’s the mentality here. They let very, very, very, very mentally ill live here. Serious substance abusers. Serious troublemakers. They create a history of trouble and they still get to live here even though the police come here and see them all the time. They still get to live here around us, and we have to walk around in fear and be alert,” she said. “I have been reporting regular since 2019.”

The woman shared a number of emails that showed her reporting her concerns to management, which dated as far back as 2020.

KIRO 7 News asked her about management’s response to her concerns.

“I felt like I was kind of being blown off. And I felt like, how come it’s still going on? I reported it over and over and over, and it’s still happening,” she said “Our housing lease rules are strict. It says you cannot have any egregious behavior, repeated violations. And that’s what happens here all the time. Constant repeated violations so I continue to complain and report.”

She said Tacoma Housing Authority threatened her due to her complaints.

“There came a point they (THA) threatened me with a violation of my lease, which threatens my housing just for making too many complaints about these problems. About these problems they wont’ fix,” she added. “It’s horrible. It’s very scary. Where am I going to go? I don’t want to be out there homeless in a tent. Where am I supposed to go?”

“That’s a horrible dilemma,” she added. “Why should I have to think like that living here? Why can’t I have my safety? Why can’t I walk around here and feel safe? Why do I have to walk in fear? Lots of us have complained endlessly for years and they have done nothing. I feel like if they had stepped up with security measures, that (recent death) maybe wouldn’t have happened.”


KIRO 7 News reached out to the Tacoma Housing Authority about the recent death investigation, the tenants’ concerns and accusations.

A spokesperson for the agency shared the following statement:

“We are aware of the tragedy that occurred in front of the G Street Apartments earlier this week. THA immediately responded to our residents by providing support and counseling resources. We are continuing our on-the-ground response and our cooperation with the Tacoma Police Department in their active investigation.

Our staff takes resident complaints seriously. Once a complaint is received, interdepartmental teams work promptly with all parties to mediate and resolve the issue. With respect to resident privacy and confidentiality, we do not disclose the specifics of tenant backgrounds or complaints.

Regarding security measures, we have security cameras and contracted security staff regularly patrolling our properties. Security staff was on-site on the morning of the incident and provided support to police on the scene. Surveillance footage and statements from security were shared with the Tacoma Police Department.

We are committed to providing support to the family of the victim and to all who have been affected by this tragic and senseless loss.”

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