Bayview School mourns recent grad killed in Tacoma shooting
February 11, 2010 · Updated 8:21 AM
Students, teachers and staff of Bayview School were struggling this week to cope with the senseless shooting death Sunday night of a recent graduate.
Camille Love, 20, described by one school staff member as “the sweetest, brightest light,” was shot and killed while stopped at a traffic light in Tacoma.
“She was a beautiful young woman,” Jean Shaw, a retired teacher at the school, said Tuesday. “What a terrible, terrible thing to happen.”
Shaw, of Langley, who still substitute-teaches at the school, had brought three teddy bears, some flowers and food for students and staff.
“People love to hug bears at a time like this,” she said.
Reports said the fatal shots came from inside a white minivan that had pulled alongside Love’s red car. The incident occurred about 10 p.m. Sunday.
Camille’s brother, Josh Love, 19, who also attended Bayview School for a period in 2009, was in the passenger seat and was wounded in the arm during the shooting. He was taken to Tacoma General Hospital for treatment, and is recovering, police said.
“How could something like that happen to someone that good?” Charlene Suzuki, a Bayview School counselor who worked closely with Camille Love before she graduated last spring, said Monday.
“She would never say anything bad about anybody,” Suzuki said.
There was no apparent motive for the shooting, police said. The van, which had been reported stolen, was found abandoned with its motor running about a mile from the scene.
Mark Fulghum, spokesman for the Tacoma Police Department, said Josh Love recalled seeing the van pull up next to the pair, and remembered the driver glaring at him before the shooting started.
Police said several shots were fired before the minivan sped down Portland Avenue.
The shooter has been described as a Hispanic male. He remained at large Tuesday.
Fulghum said police were investigating if a traffic issue or something else led to the crime.
“We just don’t know yet,” he said.
The van was reported stolen in Auburn sometime between late Saturday and late Sunday morning.
The shooting occurred on Tacoma’s East Side, in a residential area with a few scattered mom-and-pop businesses. Fulghum said two people in the neighborhood heard gunshots, but didn’t see the shooting.
“Right now we’re looking for any witnesses,” he said.
“We got the van back, so our forensic people will process that and hopefully get some information,” he added.
Fulghum said the only witness so far is Josh Love.
“He’s been very helpful. He has done everything I think he can at this point to help us out,” Fulghum said.
The brother and sister had just left a family gathering in Parkland, south of Tacoma, and were headed to a friend’s house at the time of the shooting, police said.
Students and staff at Bayview School reflected Monday about what Camille Love meant to them and the school.
She was described as a happy, dedicated student who was determined to graduate. They said she was a superior athlete, loved animals and had planned to go on to college to study veterinary science.
She was a local Kiwanis Club “student of the quarter” last year, and was an “excellent student,” Suzuki said.
“She was always happy. She never said anything wrong,” said former Bayview student Mark Moeller, who graduated with Camille last year. “Her last name was Love. That embodied who she was.”
Added her former English teacher, Sue Raley: “She was an angel already walking the Earth.”
Suzuki, who was visited regularly by Love and had seen her only a week ago, said Love was still living with her grandparents on Whidbey, but had planned to apply to a college in Tacoma on Monday.
She said the brother and sister moved to Langley in 2008 to live with their grandparents, Paul and Arden Sjunnesen, and attend Bayview School. The Sjunnesens were in Tacoma earlier this week.
The Tacoma News Tribune reported that Camille Love had asked her grandfather to help her sign up for classes on Monday at Pierce College.
“It’s just devastating,” Paul Sjunnesen told the newspaper.
Josh Love had withdrawn from Bayview School during the school year to return to the Tacoma area, where their mother and other family members live, Suzuki said. Josh Love is the father of a young child, she said.
“They might as well have been twins,” Suzuki said of Josh and Camille. “They were just that close — inseparable. She spent a lot of energy looking out for her brother.”
Bayview School Director David Pfeiffer said Monday that South Whidbey School District counselors would be available this week to help students cope with their shock and grief.
“We’re feeling protective of the kids,” he said. “They’re all in a world of hurt right now.”
A bulletin board in the hallway of the historic school at Bayview Corner has been set aside for students to post photos, drawings and messages of remembrance.
“Her last name says it all — LOVE,” reads one message.
“You will be missed greatly,” reads another.
“You will never be forgotten,” says a third.
Bayview School is a small, tight-knit school. There are only 50 to
55 students attending at any one time, Pfeiffer said. There were
10 students in last year’s graduating class.
Pfeiffer described the mood around school Monday as “somber and very sad.”
“It’s like the students are losing a member of their family,” he said.
Added Suzuki: “I feel so badly for her family, and for all of us, too. She had a lot to give.”
A candlelight vigil for Camille Love will be at 6 p.m. tonight at Bayview School.
The Love family has planned a candlelight vigil for tonight at
7 p.m. near the scene of the shooting. The vigil will be at 56th Street and Portland Avenue in Tacoma.
Record Editor Brian Kelly contributed to this report.